Critics are calling a potential increase in the federal gas tax "the wrong policy at the wrong time."
During an appearance before senators last week, Transportation Secretary-nominee Pete Buttigieg said the administration is open to increasing the gas tax, which has not been done in decades. It could bring in more revenue for infrastructure projects.
"All options need to be on the table," Buttigieg told senators. "As you know, the gas tax has not been increased since 1993, it's never been pegged to inflation, and it's one of the reasons why the current state of the Highway Trust Fund is that there's more going out than coming in."
David Williams, president of Taxpayers Protection Alliance, is not in favor of the idea.
"This is the wrong policy at the wrong time, and it doesn't make sense for taxpayers; it doesn't make sense for consumers," Williams tells One News Now. "It's going to hit middle-and lower-income folks the most, because they're the ones that are going to be most affected by this -- and also folks in the rural areas that depend upon their cars and their trucks."
President Biden has promised not to increase taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 a year, but Williams believes that is out the door.
"This gas tax is going to hit everybody, especially low and middle-income people," he reiterates.
It remains to be seen how much additional revenue a gas tax increase would bring in to the coffers. The federal government has for many years now pushed automakers to make vehicles that go farther on a tank of gas. Meanwhile, there is a small but growing market of electric and hybrid vehicle buyers. Add that to the population that commutes or takes public transportation, and an increased gas tax could still lead to a tax increase somewhere else to make up for the lack of revenue.
"In the long-term, we need to bear in mind also that as vehicles become more efficient, and as we pursue electrification, sooner or later there will be questions about whether the gas tax can be effective at all," Buttigieg told senators.