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  • 20 Oct 2014

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Blumenauer proposal to increase federal gas tax draws criticism

Congressman Earl Blumenauer will announce legislation to nearly double the federal gas tax on Wednesday.

The proposal from the Portland area Democrat would increase the current 18.4-cent per gallon federal gas tax to 33.4 cents. The tax has not been increased since 1993.

Supporters of the increase say the additional tax revenue is needed to fund infrastructure projects.

Blumenauer is scheduled to unveil his proposal Wednesday morning in Washington DC, according to a report in The Hill, a newspaper that covers Congress.

Even before the announcement, the idea was denounced by James Buchal, a Republican who has filed for the seat held by Blumenauer in the May 2014 primary Election. Buchal, a lawyer who last ran for Oregon Attorney General in 2012, was responding to the report.

In a statement issued Tuesday morning, Buchal said:

“Once again we see Blumenauer attacking the middle class on behalf of his rich and powerful backers like the construction trades. We need infrastructure improvements, but raising taxes to throw more money at a broken system is foolish. We ought to be pruning away senseless federal legal requirements that have made infrastructure projects cost many times more than they used to.

“Once upon a time, before the federal government began to choke us all with unnecessary regulations, it cost much less to build public projects. The Golden Gate Bridge cost $35 million back in 1935. That’s about $600 million in today’s dollars. The Columbia River Crossing bridge is estimated to cost over $2 billion dollars 212;and it’s less than half as long as the Golden Gate Bridge and a lot easier to build. Blumenauer ought to be investigating why public projects cost six or more times as much to build, not raising taxes for the benefit of his backers.

“And, of course, we’d also save a lot of transportation money if we didn’t waste it on toy trains and other wasteful projects. Voters might be willing to pay more for better roads and bridges, but they know from long experience with politicians like Blumenauer that the taxes will just be wasted on things they don’t want or need.”