From this weekend's Fox News Sunday, GOP Senators John Thune and Bob Corker were asked about whether there's a possibility we'll see the gas tax increased to pay for our crumbling infrastructure in the United States. Thune was willing to entertain the idea and Corker helped introduce a bill to increase the tax last year, paid for by some offsets of course.
God knows we can't allow our infrastructure projects be be funded without giving someone a tax break to keep their campaign donors happy. One has to wonder just how much worse they're going to continue to allow our infrastructure to fall apart before they finally act, given the fact we've received a grade of a D+ from the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Maybe now that McConnell isn't focused on doing everything possible to make sure President Obama is a one-term president and with gas prices at record lows, they'll finally put some money into the Highway Trust Fund. I wouldn't hold my breath until it passes though. The mere mention of tax increases, offset or not gives most of them the vapors.
WALLACE: All right. Senator Thune, let me turn to you and the commerce committee. One of the big items on your agenda is the fact that you have to find a way to finance the transportation bill which would pay for upkeep of our highways and the public transit system.
With gas prices now under $2.50 a gallon, would you favor increasing the gas tax?
SEN. JOHN THUNE (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: Well, I don't favor increasing any tax, Chris, but I think we have to look at all the option. We obviously have a big delta (ph) we have to meet. The highway bill expires at the end of May and there's about a hundred billion shortfall of what it would take to fund the highway trust fund at the current level of operation.
So, obviously, we've got to deal with it here. And I think there's a number of ways you could deal with that, and those discussions continue. I think we'll get to a resolution on that, but it is important we fund infrastructure, and we deal with that, as well as planes, trains and automobiles, all those issues.↓ Story continues below ↓
WALLACE: Let me just interrupt because we're running out of the time here.
Now, Senator Corker and others have suggested a 12 cent per gallon increase in the gas tax over the next two years. You certainly sound like you're not ruling that out?
THUNE: Well, Bob Corker has got a proposal out there. There are others who have suggestions as well. We appreciate the fact that we've got solutions that are being future forward.
I don't think we take anything off the table at this point. I think it's important to recognize that we have a problem, an issue that we need a solution for, and we need to look at all the possible ways out there in which we can address the challenge and address the problem. But that's one proposal that's out there and Bob Corkers has been, you know, taken a strong stand on that issue.
WALLACE: Final question for you --
CORKER: Chris, if I could, that was -- Chris, if I could --
CORKER: I just want to point out yes, we have proposed raising the gasoline tax -- user fee by 12 cents, but also by off-setting other taxes that Americans would pay. So, it's revenue neutral, but at least it would put our infrastructure on strong footing. And that second component seems to get left out of the conversation most of the time. But, yes, I believe that's what we should do.
WALLACE: Well, thank you for that clarification.