House Dem calls for penny-a-gallon increase in the gas tax

"We're going to have to talk about revenues, it's the only way to solve that problem," he said. "We can get a 100 percent rate of return. It's pretty simple. We would just index the existing gas tax — which hasn't changed since 1993."

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DeFazio said that while the 18.4 cent federal tax on each gallon of gasoline hasn't changed in 20 years, gas prices are now approaching $4 a gallon, and he predicted they would rise to $5 a gallon, all without any additional tax.

"And the money's going into the coffers of ExxonMobil and the other big oil companies," DeFazio said. "It isn't going to repair our infrastructure. Haven't raised that tax in 20 years."

He suggested indexing the gas tax to construction cost inflation and fleet fuel economy, which he said would result in an additional tax of about one cent per gallon that would help pay for infrastructure improvements.

"A penny a gallon," he said. "I think most Americans would be willing to pay for that if they knew it was going to create 3.5 million jobs, put this country back on track, and get rid of some of the delays and the congestion and the detours and all the other problems that we have."

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