Energy & Environment

Key Democrat says traveler fees should fund infrastructure projects

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.)
Greg Nash

A key Senate Democrat said Wednesday he supports making people pay to use transportation infrastructure even as the White House eyes raising corporate taxes to pay for its own infrastructure package.

“I think things that are worth having are worth paying for,” Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said during The Hill’s Sustainability Imperative event.

“For years, we have taken a user-pay approach. If you use roads, highways, bridges, you have to help pay for that. I think that’s sound policy and one that we should continue,” Carper told The Hill’s Bob Cusack. 

Carper also said he thinks that in the future, the country may look toward using a “vehicle miles traveled” approach. 

“Regardless of whether you’re driving a gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicle or an electric-powered vehicle, hydrogen-powered vehicle, you’re going to pay directly or indirectly for the construction of our roads, highways and bridges. That’s the future. That may be 10 years away,” Carper said. 

“We’re seeing the marketplace and the manufacturers moving toward electric, moving toward hydrogen,” he said. “We need charging stations all over the country. Joe Biden’s proposed building 500,000 of them. We need tax policy that supports that,” he added.

His comments come as the Biden administration has its own idea for how to pay for infrastructure. Namely, the White House has proposed increasing the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent to pay for Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.

The Hill’s event was sponsored by the American Investment Council, the American Petroleum Institute, the Consumer Brands Association, Philip Morris International, Electric Last Mile Solutions, Securing America’s Future Energy and XL Fleet.

Tags Bob Cusack Joe Biden Tom Carper

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