Congressman Blumenauer Introduces the Rebuild America Act to Invest Hundreds of Billions of Dollars in Surface Transportation Infrastructure
May 22, 2019
Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee and longtime advocate for infrastructure investment, today introduced the Rebuild America Act of 2019, which would incrementally increase the federal gasoline and diesel taxes to invest in America’s crumbling infrastructure.
This legislation raises the fuels tax by five cents a year over five years, indexes it to inflation, and establishes Congress’ intention to replace it with a more equitable, stable source of funding within 10 years.
“The gas tax was last raised more than 25 years ago, which means we are paying for our 2019 infrastructure needs with 1993 dollars. That is unacceptable,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “Our nation’s infrastructure is falling apart as we fall behind our global competitors. The cost of underinvestment falls especially hard on working families and low-income individuals who can’t afford the cost of a blown tire or lost wages due to congestion. It is past time that we get real about funding our infrastructure needs, we can’t afford inaction any longer.”
“We applaud Congressman Blumenauer for being outspoken on the need to modernize America’s infrastructure,” said Tom Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “The Rebuild America Act includes a proposal the Chamber has advocated for in its four pillars for modernizing America’s infrastructure, an adjustment in the federal motor fuels tax. It’s been 26 years since this user fee has been adjusted and we believe it is a fiscally responsible way to modernize our nation’s roads, bridges and transit.”
“The neglect of our nation’s infrastructure is so pervasive, it threatens our economic future,” said Richard Trumka, President of AFL-CIO. “The Rebuild America Act provides one of the sources of federal investment we need to fix America’s infrastructure and create good-paying, family-sustaining union jobs across the country, sharpen our competitive edge and ensure our current and future success. It’s time for America’s infrastructure to once again be the envy of the world.”
“Great credit goes to Earl Blumenauer for proposing a solution to the infrastructure crisis in America,” said Chris Spear, President and CEO of the American Trucking Associations. “Truckers see that roads and bridges are deteriorating more each year, and the traffic and congestion that impacts people’s daily lives must be solved. Real problems call for real solutions, and the Rebuild America Act enjoys support from a broad spectrum of organizations - business and labor, as well as families across the country. This legislation would save money, by addressing the nation’s crumbling infrastructure – which costs the average American more than $1,500 per year in repairs and congestion. We thank Congressman Blumenauer for his leadership and hope that Congress works with constructive leaders like him to find a solution to improve our decaying roads and bridges.”
The United States faces the largest infrastructure funding gap in the world. The sector with the greatest shortfall is surface transportation, which the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates needs more than $1.1 trillion of investment by 2025. Since 2010, 35 states with legislatures controlled by both parties have voted to raise their gas taxes. Inaction will cost families $3,400 in annual disposable income by 2025, whereas a 25-cent gas tax increase costs the average driver less than $3.00 a week and contributes nearly $400 billion toward upgrading roads, bridges, and transit systems. Every $1.3 billion in infrastructure investment adds 29,000 construction jobs, yields $2 billion in economic growth, and reduces the federal deficit by $200 million.
You can read the bill text here.