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ATA to Congress: Fuel tax is most effective way to fund infrastructure

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) last week told the House Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures, House Committee on Ways and Means, that the federal fuel tax remains the most cost-effective way to fund essential highway infrastructure projects.

In her statement on behalf of ATA, 2nd Vice Chair Barbara Windsor said that an increase in the fuel tax -- with the additional revenue invested in projects and programs that address national highway infrastructure needs -- is by far the best way to ensure sufficient funding for highway projects over the near term.

ATA maintains support for the federal fuel tax because it:

  • Offers minimal opportunity for evasion;
  • Can be collected and enforced without imposing excessive administrative and recordkeeping burdens on highway members;
  • Is based currently on readily verifiable measure of highway and vehicle use;
  • Remains uniform in application among classes of highway users; and
  • Does not create impediments to interstate commerce.

Highway funding schemes like tolling, vehicle miles traveled taxes or public-private partnerships do not stand up to the criteria for viable highway funding and provide a minimal return on the highway user’s investment, Barbara Windsor, ATA’s second vice-chairman, told the committee.

According to ATA, trucking pays 33% of state and federal highway user fees, but logs just 14.4% of annual vehicle miles traveled on our highways. In addition to the federal fuel tax, trucks contribute to the system through a Heavy Vehicle Use Tax paid on all trucks above 55,000 pounds, a sales tax on all trucks and trailers, and a tire tax paid on all tires sold by manufacturers, producers or importers.

Windsor also said that the climate and energy legislation recently passed in the House is likely to significantly increase the cost of fuel.

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