Fuel-tax hike for highway funding eyed in Senate finance committee

| June 26, 2014

trucks on highway 3

A plan to keep federal highway funding solvent through December no longer includes a hike in the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax hike, but has been amended to increase the fuel tax.

The Senate Finance Committee delayed a vote at its June 26 hearing on the Preserving America’s Transit and Highways act until Congress reconvenes the week of July 7. A day earlier, Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., had introduced PATH to infuse $9 billion into the Highway Trust Fund and give Congress time to pass a long-term transportation funding bill.

The 2012 surface transportation reauthorization law expires Sept. 30, but the HTF will be depleted before the end of this summer.

PATH includes 56 pages of amendments, one which removes the proposal to increase the maximum HVUT from $550 to $1,100.

Republican Senators Orin Hatch of Utah and John Thune of South Dakota introduced a substitute for a HVUT hike with a spending reform proposal to generate more funding. Their amendment includes closing a loophole that allows people to simultaneously collect unemployment insurance or Trade Adjustment Assistance and Social Security disability payments.

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Federal court says fleet’s drivers are employees, not contractors in Calif. ruling

An appeals court June 16 ruled that drivers working for Georgia-based carrier Affinity Logistics — but working in California — were not independent contractors, as the fleet argued, but were employees, due to the control the carrier had over its drivers’ work.

The HVUT hike also would be removed under a proposal from Sen. Sherrod Brown. The Ohio Democrat offered two amendments, both titled the Fair Playing Field Act, which would find additional HTF money by cracking down on independent contractor misclassification. 

The second of Brown’s proposals would end the moratorium on Internal Revenue Service guidance regarding worker classification and allowing prospective reclassification of workers.

Related

Fuel tax hike proposed in Senate to shore up highway funding

A proposal in the Senate is pursing the oft-cited and trucking-backed solution for shoring up the Highway Trust Fund: an increase in the tax on diesel and gasoline at the pump.

Senator Tom Carper’s amendment would index the fuel tax to inflation for the first time since 1993. The Delaware Democrat’s proposal would implement three annual increases of 4 cents per gallon.

Last week, Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) introduced a plan to increase tax at the pump 6 cents during each of the next two years. This would offset current highway spending levels over the next 10 years and restore the buying power the federal fuel tax to what it was 21 years ago, they said.

  • Jack Davis Jr.

    Why don’t y’all leave the trucking industry alone. How do you people think you and your family got the things you bought at the store. I think the last time I recall, was by TRUCK…

  • Timothy L Barrett

    How About They Stop Stealing Money From the Highway Trust Fund to Fund Bike Paths and Transit Projects, Highway Trust Fund is for Key Word Here HIGHWAYS!!!!!

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  • localnet

    How many billions have gone to BS like bike paths and light rail to nowhere? We can also repeal the Davis Bacon act. And here is another one, which eats up more money than the roads cost to maintain on a yearly basis, get rid of the federal DOT and give that power back to the states! Do those three things, and we can pave the roads with gold.

  • Robert T Dennie

    Good answer .!!!!

  • Robert T Dennie

    When is enough ,ENOUGH ? Every week its something new . fmcsa and others better find other ways to fund things . Like quit lining the pockets of higher up ! Gee how many millions would that save ? Let a fair tax at the pump for ALL cars included be imposed .

  • USA1

    I like how all the poliiticians say they are for the blue collar worker and the middle class, but all they do in their secret meetings is continue to pull down the niddle class blue collar worker with thier added taxes. Keep it up you idiots and soon their won’t be a middle class to tax!

  • shadow hauling

    Hey here’s another way to put more money in the highway fund, let’s quit taking out of it for the railroad and let’s make them start paying back into it. We need powerful lobbyist in Washington like the railroad has and then we wouldn’t have all this bullshit going on !

  • Wally Florez

    WHY NOT Use some of the money from the lottery instead?

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  • Jack Simon

    From the 2013 waste book from Tom Corburn:

    The $78 billion, five-year total for obligated expenditures for non-highway, non-bridge construction or maintenance projects includes:

    • Over $2 billion on 5,547 projects for bike paths and pedestrian walkways and facilities;
    • $850 million for 2,772 “scenic beautification” and landscaping projects;
    • $488 million for behavioral research;
    • $313 million for safety belt performance grants;
    • $224 million for 366 projects to rehabilitate and operate historic transportation buildings, structures, and facilities;
    • $215 million for 859 projects under scenic or historic highway programs;
    • $121 million on 63 projects for ferryboats and ferry terminal facilities;
    • $110 million for occupant protection incentive grants;
    • $84 million for 398 projects for safety and education of pedestrians and bicyclists;
    • $84 million for 213 road-kill prevention, wildlife habitat connectivity, and highway runoff pollution mitigation projects;
    • $28 million to establish 55 transportation museums;
    • $19 million for 25 projects to control and remove outdoor advertising;
    • $18 million for motorcyclist safety grants; and
    • $13 million on 50 projects for youth conservation service.

    And then they say that they don’t have enough money for repair of roads and bridges? What a joke these people are. They raid the highway fund to do their pet projects and then tell us they are broke. Stupidity at it’s finest.