Although several suggestions have been made to fund the Trust Fund, the only way to fund it robustly is to increase the motor fuel tax as President Reagan did in 1983, President George Bush did in 1990 and President Bill Clinton did in 1993. Iím pleased that Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., chairman of the subcommittee tasked with writing the reauthorization bill and member of the Finance Committee tasked with paying for it, has summoned the political courage to propose an increase to the motor fuel tax of 3- or 4-cents-per-year for four years, and then linking it to inflation. Iím hopeful that he can find a Republican partner so that this can be done on a bipartisan basis.
The passage of a robust four-year reauthorization would be the biggest job creator we have had since the stimulus bill, would respond to the growing crisis in highway and transit infrastructure, substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and last but not least, relieve the stress being experienced by millions of Americans traveling on our highways each day and provide many more of them with a transit or rail alternative.
Wouldnít it be wonderful if Congress and the president could get something done before the end of the year that is bipartisan, good for the country, and restores the American peopleís faith in our government?
George Voinovich is a former Republican senator from Ohio.