Blue Ribbon Panel Call for Gas Tax Hike Shouted Down

The “National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission” appointed by Congress two years ago recommended $285B in infrastructure spending annually for the next 25 years to deal with the deteriorating transportation system. To fund the improvements, they proposed a $0.40 increase in the Federal Gas Tax, to be phased in over several years.

Remarkably, I am told that 9 of the panel’s 12 members are Republicans. This did not keep the Bush administration from objecting:

In a 10-page dissent, the commission’s chairwoman, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, and two other members agreed with several aspects of the report but sharply criticized the proposal for higher gasoline taxes. She and the two commissioners are calling instead for sole reliance on tolls and private investment, which Peters said would avoid sending millions of dollars of new tax revenue to Washington that could end up as congressional pork.

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