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Gas Tax: Ohio Senator looking to push the cost of gas up on his way out

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Senator George Voinovich is looking to increase the cost of gasoline during his final term in office but his office says his intentions are good.

Ohio Senator George Voinovich says a federal fuel tax increase is long overdue. The current 18.4 cents per gallon has been in place for 17 years.

The retiring senator the funds aren't enough to support or maintain our transportation system.

According to a staffer, he proposes a fuel tax hike so the government can stop raiding the general fund for transportation projects, and use the money to improve highways and bridges, and create jobs.

A source at gas buddy says Americans guzzle up about 400 million gallons a day. So the feds would rack up 20 million dollars per day in additional tax revenue.

Senator George V. Voinovich's office released this statement concerning the proposed hike:

It's the senator's understanding that his statement regarding the fuel tax increase as a Debt Commission recommendation might have been ambiguous. It is his strong belief that any new fuel taxes should be used strictly for the Highway Trust Fund as part of a robust Surface Transportation Act ("STA") reauthorization bill, which he has been working to pass with his colleagues in the Senate.

Fuel taxes today fund the vast majority of the federal government's investment in infrastructure projects. Due to dwindling fuel tax receipts, Congress has had to transfer billions of dollars from the General Fund to the Highway Trust Fund to maintain our current level of federal involvement. While there are many reasons for these dwindling receipts, one critical factor is that the federal fuel tax rate has not been increased for 17 years-since 1993, when it was raised by 4.3 cents to 18.4 cents per gallon. The purchasing power of the current fuel taxes has decreased over this time period and thus, the federal government's contribution to the transportation system has continued to fall behind. Adequate funding for the Highway Trust Fund through an increase in the fuel tax would help to ensure that Congress can stop transferring monies from the General Fund to cover Highway Trust Fund shortfalls.

The lack of investment in our crumbling bridge, highway, and transit systems is a missed opportunity for the creation of thousands of well paying jobs and long term economic growth for our Nation. By including robust new funding for the STA, Congress can demonstrate that there are fiscally responsible ways to meet our Nation's needs.

Background:

A multiyear transportation bill that is paid for would be a real economic stimulus and create immediate jobs. The Transportation Department estimates that for every $1 billion the federal government invests in highways and bridges, 34,800 jobs are created or maintained. Highway projects worth more than $47 billion are ready to go, according to state departments of transportation.

But President Barack Obama is doing nothing to get these projects off the ground. This year, 21 states have indicated that they are likely to be forced to reduce transportation investments because of Washington's inaction.

The transportation construction industry supports more than 3 million jobs. Just think about the massive impact this industry has on employment in the U.S. It provides more domestic jobs than both U.S. motor vehicle and parts manufacturers and petroleum and coal products manufacturers. The infrastructure built, maintained and managed by this industry is the backbone of our economy.

Unfortunately, this sector is in its worst condition since World War II. The unemployment rate in construction is a staggering 20 percent - higher than for any other industry and two times the national unemployment rate of 9.5 percent.

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