Gas Tax Proposed For Highway Trust Fund, Obama Warns That 700,000 Jobs Face Unemployment Over Gas Prices Fight

A higher gas tax is being proposed as a solution for filling the Highway Trust Fund, which is set to run out in the summer of 2014 if politicians do not take action. But, would Americans accept seeing higher gas prices at the pump?

In a related report by The Inquisitr, it’s claimed the Keystone XL pipeline could actually increase gas prices in the United States, not cause them go down as it is popularly believed. It’s also not commonly known that United States oil production now beats even Saudi Arabia due to fracking operations:

“(The U.S.) growth rate is greater than the sum of the growth of the next nine fastest growing countries combined and has covered most of the world’s net demand growth over the past two years. The U.S. position as the largest oil supplier in the world looks to be secure for many years.”

Even if the United States were to use only its own oil, it’s estimated by experts that we have a proven reserve of about 26.5 billion barrels. Unfortunately, that means we would use up all our own oil in less than four years. But that’s nothing compared to the year 2060, when it’s expected that the entire world runs out of oil.

Now the Highway Trust Fund is what provides all the money for bridges, roads, and other infrastructure across the United States. It’s supposed to be funded by gas taxes, but since US drivers have been driving less, and thus buying less gas, it’s expected to run out by July.

President Obama is warning that 700,000 jobs are at stake at a time when even the 2014 unemployment extension is being debated:

“Right now, there are more than 100,000 active projects paving roads and rebuilding bridges, modernizing our transit systems. States might have to choose which ones to put the brake on. Some states are already starting to slow down work because they’re worried Congress won’t untangle the gridlock on time. And that’s something you should remember every time you see a story about a construction project stopped, or machines idled, or workers laid off their jobs.”

So far, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has given two options. Either the gas tax is increased by 10 to 15 cents per gallon, or Congress must cut infrastructure spending by 30 to 65 percent. While Democrat Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) wants to increase the gas tax, Obama has suggested that the cost be paid for by increasing taxes on businesses. But Republicans believe that increasing business taxes in the middle of a bad economy is not a good idea.

Republican Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) has a different solution to the Highway Trust Fund. He claims that the Federal gas tax should be lowered from 18.4 cents per gallon to 3.7 cents per gallon. Lee believes that if the burden of maintaining infrastructure is shifted to the states the money would be spent more wisely:

“The whole purpose of this is to put less of that money in the hands of the few of Washington and putting more of it in the hands of state legislators, where it belongs. Since states don’t have to deal with federal regulations, they will be able to spend that money more effectively and efficiently.”

How do you think the debate over the Highway Trust Fund should be resolved? Do you think an increased gas tax is appropriate?

[Image via GasBuddy]