Bill would nearly double federal gasoline tax

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) is introducing legislation that would nearly double the 18.4-cents-per-gallon federal gas tax that is traditionally used to pay for federal transportation projects.

Blumenauer's bill would increase the gas tax by 15 cents, matching a proposal that was included in the 2011 Simpson-Bowles budget reform recommendations.

The legislation would result in drivers paying an extra 33.4 cents per gallon on their purchases, in addition to state taxes.

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Transportation advocates have pushed for a gas tax increase to close an approximately $20 billion shortfall in infrastructure funding that has developed as cars have grown more fuel efficient.

The current tax of 18.4 cents per gallon brings in about $35 billion per year. The last transportation bill that was passed by Congress included approximately $54 billion in funding per year, which transportation advocates said was barely enough to cover the repair needs of the current U.S. infrastructure system.

The last time the federal gas tax was increased was 1993.

If the current gas tax were to be indexed to inflation since it was enacted in 1993, drivers would be paying about 30 cents per gallon on their gasoline purchases now.

Blumenauer is scheduled to unveil his legislation to increase the federal gas tax during a news conference on Wednesday.

The Oregon lawmaker is scheduled to appear with representatives from the AFL-CIO's Transportation Trades Department, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Labors International Union of North America, the American Society of Civil Engineers, Reconnecting America and the American Public Transportation Association.