Waste Watch: Federal Gas Tax Hike Proposed

Gas Pump Photo-MGN

NASHVILLE, TN - Tennessee is flirting with being among the highest taxed states in the south for gasoline.

As state lawmakers rally for more support for a state gas tax hike, federal lawmakers are doing the same.

The two tax increases combined could end up costing you a quarter more per gallon to fill up!

According to federal lawmakers, the double-whammy gas tax increase is needed to pay for our nation's infrastructure.

But some fighting against it say there's a better way to maintain our roads and our budget.

Here in the midstate, drivers are paying 31 cents less per gallon than this time last year.

Nationally, it's a 48 cent decrease.

Americans For Prosperity TN Foundation Director Andrew Ogles says, "We finally have a break at the gas pump and a lot of legislators at the federal and state level see that as an opportunity."

Lawmakers are scrambling to gather support to increase the fuel tax per gallon before this window closes.

Right now, US drivers pay an 18.4 cent gas tax.

Filling up in Tennessee costs an additional 21.4 cents per gallon.

And between a federal and state hike, Ogles says drivers could be shelling out an additional 15-25 cents per gallon.

Federally, the government is spending about 16 billion dollars a year more on road and bridge maintenance than what it brings in through its primary funding, the gas tax.

Those behind a rate hike believe there's no other option to pay for these projects.

Americans for Prosperity believes it's best to stay the course, make the difficult cuts and not raise costs on the consumers.

In a previous Fox 17 Waste Watch investigation, we've reported that more than 20 percent of our federal fuel tax is spent on non-highway projects like bike paths, scenic overlooks and recreation trails.. or funding rail, bus and streetcar projects.

By raising our taxes even just a nickel in Tennessee, Ogles says we could be paying the third highest gas tax in the south.

The Highway Trust Fund, which is where 90-percent of our federal gas tax money ends up, has been operating in the red for years, teetering on bankruptcy.

There are claims that it will run out of money this year though it's not up for re-authorization until 2021.

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