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President Obama hits two birds with one stone with new gas tax proposal

Posted Dec. 7, 2010 / Posted by: Kelly Trout

For Immediate Release
October 15, 2010

Contact:
Severin Skolrud, 202-222-0734, skolrud@foe.org
Carly Pildis, 202-222-0723, cpildis@foe.org

President Obama hits two birds with one stone with new gas tax proposal

Plan undercuts transportation infrastructure and keeps tax cuts for the rich

Washington, D.C. -- This week, the White House and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) proposed a plan to eliminate the nation’s gas tax of $0.184 on each gallon and instead replace it with an 8.4 percent sales tax.

Friends of the Earth’s federal transportation campaigner, Severin Skolrud, made the following statement in response:

“This is a deal with the devil: the White House is using Bush-era tax cuts as a bargaining chip in exchange for implementing a sales tax on fuel. The national gas tax, which hasn’t been raised since 1993, is failing to provide our transportation system with adequate financing. That’s why the administration wants to use this sales tax to fund the $50 billion stimulus plan for transportation projects. Yet this plan would yield just $43 billion over a six-year period; not enough to fund the public transportation infrastructure our country needs to decrease carbon emissions.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) predicts that we will need more than $2 trillion in the next five years just to maintain our current transportation system. To approach this situation fairly, we should implement a substantial gas tax increase that also includes tax breaks to low-income Americans. Instead the president is pushing a weak tax in a deal that results in tax breaks to the wealthiest one percent – once again giving away too much to achieve too little. Instead of selling people short, we should be making investments in long-term solutions. An increase in the national gas tax is one way to move us towards a reduction in fuel consumption and pollution, as well as an increase in the demand for public transportation.

“The White House should push for a higher gas tax, and not at the expense of extending regressive tax cuts.”

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Friends of the Earth and our network of grassroots groups in 77 countries fight to create a more healthy, just world. Our current campaigns focus on clean energy and solutions to global warming, protecting people from toxic and new, potentially harmful technologies, and promoting smarter, low-pollution transportation alternatives.

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