WASHINGTON — It’s looking more and more likely you’ll need a pair of double — no, triple-strength binoculars to locate even a glimmering hope that there will be a viable infrastructure bill this anytime soon.
Sure, President Donald Trump and the Democrats met recently and agreed on the need for $2.2 trillion in infrastructure improvements, but as usual, there was no talk about from whence the money would come.
And now, it appears that the best way to fund the Highway Trust Fund — at least in the eyes of the trucking industry — is being quashed by the White House.
POLITICO reported over the weekend that the White House has been reassuring conservative leaders that it has no plans to hike the gas and diesel tax to help fund the massive infrastructure package that President Donald Trump hopes to negotiate with Congress.
POLITICO reported that both acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Russ Vought, Trump’s budget director, have repeatedly downplayed the possibility in private meetings with fiscal conservatives who are expressing alarm that Trump might embrace a massive tax increase. Concerns have specifically centered around a potential gas tax boost, an idea that Trump has flirted with during his presidency.
“It is my understanding that they are not going to be agreeing to any tax increases,” said Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist in an interview with POLITICO. Norquist said he has discussed the matter with White House officials in recent days, but did not disclose specifics. He was spotted at the White House on Friday, where he attended a meeting with Vought in which conservative leaders discussed upcoming spending battles, according to two attendees.
One long-simmering rumor that took off after the Trump-Democrats meeting was that Trump might endorse an increase in the gas tax to help fund the infrastructure package. It’s a prospect that deeply unsettles conservatives and some administration officials, who oppose any tax increase to pay for the projects.
Both the American Trucking Associations and the Truckload Carriers Association have publicly said they believe a gas tax increase is the best way to fund infrastructure improvements.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.