Transportation supporters have called for an increase in the 18.4-cents-per-gallon tax that is paid by automobile drivers. The tax, which has not been increased since 1993, currently brings in about $35 billion per year.
The most recent transportation bill approved by Congress authorized more than $50 billion annually in spending, which road and transit advocates argues is the bare minimum needed to maintain the current system.
Shuster has expressed openness to considering new methods of funding for future transportation bills. The highway trust fund, which is the traditional source for funding, has been filled by gas tax revenue for years, but the fund is expected to dwindle further as cars become even more fuel efficient.
Shuster has referred to the gap in gas tax revenue as a “transportation fiscal cliff” that will have to be addressed soon by lawmakers.