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No Gas Tax Hike in 2010, Says House Leader
Monday, 18 January 2010 00:00
Van Hollen says lack of political consensus kills increase supported by legislators, some carriers.

Congress will not raise fuel taxes this year to fund transportation construction programs, said a Democratic leader in the House of Representatives.

Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., told Bloomberg Television a gas tax hike for highway projects “certainly won’t fly this year, because we’re going to have to have some kind of bipartisan consensus before you move forward on any kind of funding mechanism like that.”

Van Hollen is chairman the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is charged with electing members of that party to the House. He made the remarks in a Jan. 15 interview that was broadcast by Bloomberg over the weekend.

The gas tax is usually shorthand for taxes on motor vehicle fuels generally, since Congress and the states tend to adjust taxes for diesel fuel used by truck and trains when they change the tax on gasoline sales.

Some members of Congress have called for raising the federal fuel tax to lock in a funding stream that would help pay for a range of highway, intermodal and other transportation construction projects for up to six years.

Several freight transport groups say they would back a tax increase as long as the revenue was targeted directly at improving the nation’s poor infrastructure.

Van Hollen also said legislation the House passed in December to spur job creation “does have a major infrastructure component to it to try and fast track, to put the accelerator on some infrastructure funding.”

But asked again whether there would be a gas tax increase, he said “not this year.”

Journal of Commerce Online, 1/18/2010