Biden: Congress ‘can’t even decide on a gas tax’

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Vice President Biden on Wednesday ripped Congress for passing only a short-term transportation funding extension, but in doing so muddled the administration’s position on the issue.

“Hell, Congress can’t even decide on a gas tax to keep the highway system going,” Biden said in remarks criticizing the Congress’s inability to write policy.

Congress last month approved a new highway bill, but the trust fund used for infrastructure payments will run out of money in the spring.

{mosads}Biden’s comments appeared to criticize Congress for not agreeing to a new gas tax to pay for the funding. The bill approved by Congress keeps the 18.4 cents-per-gallon rate that can’t keep up anymore with highway spending.

The administration actually opposes raising the tax, however. The Obama administration prefers to close corporate tax breaks to increase highway funding.

The Department of Transportation has said that its Highway Trust Fund typically runs short by about $16 billion per year.

Transportation advocates have pushed for Congress to raise the gas tax for the first time in two decades to help close the funding gap.

Congress approved $10.9 billion in new funding that will last until May 2015. The administration has proposed a four-year, $302 billion transportation funding bill. 

The White House said in June that President Obama would oppose efforts to increase the gas tax during the recently completed transportation funding debate.

“That’s something that we’ve said a couple of times that we wouldn’t support,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said at the time.

Obama has said that he will sign the temporary transportation funding patch, despite his prefer for a much longer funding measure.  

Tags Anthony Foxx Gas Tax Highway bill Highway Trust Fund Joe Biden MAP-21 Reauthorization

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