Passenger Transport Archive
McCain's 'Gas Tax Holiday' A Bad Deal
April 21, 2008
The "gas tax holiday" proposed by U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the presumptive Republican nominee for president, would do much more harm than good, according to organizations representing transportation users and providers.
"With gas prices at an all-time high, it is an easy thing to suggest the removal of the gas tax," said APTA President William W. Millar. "However, stating that the suspension of [federal] gas taxes from Memorial Day to Labor Day, ostensibly to help our economy, hides the real truth--that America's transportation is intertwined with our high standard of living and prosperity. To cut back transportation infrastructure investment endangers, not boosts, our economy, our jobs, and our way of life."
Millar continued: "The truth is that gas prices are high because the cost of oil is high; they're not high because of the federal gas tax. The truth is that we need the federal gas tax to pay for the much needed highway and public transportation infrastructure. . . . Americans are used to their independence and want their transportation systems to not only be maintained, but improved and expanded."
John Horsley, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, called the proposal "short-sighted and damaging to our nation's economy, while providing little relief to America's drivers."
AASHTO estimates show the average motorist, driving approximately 12,000 miles per year, would save approximately $28 during the three-month period under this plan.
Americans for Transportation Mobility, a 400-member coalition formed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, released a statement calling the McCain plan "less a quick fix than an over-simplified play to voter concerns over the rising cost of oil."
Similarly, a spokesperson for the American Road and Transportation Builders Association explained that the federal gas tax rate has not changed since 1993. "Even if the federal excises were reduced, the federal government could not guarantee that gas and diesel prices would drop commensurately at the pump," the ARTBA spokesperson added.
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