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Construction Union Urges Congress to Heed Poll Data on Highway Repairs, Gas Tax
Posted at 3 p.m. on June 12, 2014
Polling data shows a majority of the American people worried about pothole-pitted highways and aging bridges. Yet members of Congress don’t yet seem willing to raise the 18.4-cent-per-gallon tax on gasoline to replenish the Highway Trust Fund, which pays for infrastructure. CQ Roll Call’s David Harrison says House Republicans are still figuring out how to pass a short-term extension of the Trust Fund before the summer recess.
A Hart Research Associates poll commissioned by the Laborers’ International Union of North America found that nearly three out of five Americans say they worry about unsafe driving conditions due to deteriorating road surfaces. Two out of five said they or someone they know has almost had an accident or lost control of their car due to bad road surfaces.
“I don’t know how much more evidence Congress could possibly need to know it is their solemn responsibility to pass a long-term, full investment highway bill this year,” LIUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan told reporters in a conference call on Thursday.
LIUNA supports a bill sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., to increase the gasoline tax to 33.3 cents per gallon.
O’Sullivan cited a separate poll conducted for the American Automobile Association that found that a majority would be willing to pay higher gasoline taxes “if they are assured that what they pay goes toward making our roads and bridges safer.”
The Department of Transportation’s Trust Fund ticker shows that the fund will be depleted by August. On the conference call with O’Sullivan, Avery Ash, AAA’s director of Federal Relations said, “We’ve already heard a number of governors coming out and saying they’re planning on scaling back state-level projects. If we do see the Trust Fund run dry in August, the real impact on motorists at that point is going to be impacting day-to-day and summer travel. And that’s really going to get people’s attention.”