Miller against gas-tax hike to extend Highway Trust Fund’s life

U.S. Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, recently said she is against a gas-tax increase to fund the president’s six-year, $478 billion transportation reauthorization plan.

“I do not believe that is the right solution; it’s regressive and provides diminishing returns over time,” Miller said in an emailed response to Ripon Advance.

If transportation legislation isn’t passed by a May 31 deadline, the authority to spend from the Highway Trust Fund will stop. Money in the fund is expected to run out sometime this summer, the U.S. Department of Transportation said, and payments to states and local governments would be cut off.

Miller said that in her home state of Michigan, deteriorating roads and other infrastructure are a major problem that poses a serious threat to the state’s economic vitality.

“And just as we are witnessing at the state level, the federal government is struggling to identify a new source of funding,” Miller said.

That said, she said she does realize a new revenue source must come from someplace. “It’s going to be a challenge and will require us to work together to find innovative, long-term solutions,” Miller said. 

The Federal Highway Administration said that 20.5 percent of major highways that are eligible for federal aid are in poor or mediocre condition, 15.1 percent of highways in rural areas are in poor or mediocre condition, and in urban areas, 32.1 percent of highway roads need repairs. Of the nation’s Interstate highways, 1.8 percent of rural roads and 5 percent of urban roads were identified as being in poor or mediocre repair.