9/13: Should federal gas tax be extended?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The federal gas tax — 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993 — expires Sept. 30. It generates roughly $32 billion, most of it distributed to states for road construction and repairs. President Barack Obama wants Congress to pass an extension of the tax. Some conservatives want to abolish it and allow states to raise and spend their own money. Two Georgia congressmen debate the issue.

Congressman Hank Johnson, D-Ga., who represents the 4th district, believes that yes, Funding infrastructure is critical to grow our economy, create jobs.

But Congressman Tom Graves. R-Ga., who represents the 9th District, argues that no, the Feds have mishandled gas-tax revenues, mistreated Georgia.

What do you think?

27 comments Add your comment

David Staples

September 13th, 2011
10:25 am

Let the tax expire and leave road building to individual states. Perhaps it was important for the initial development of the highway system, but we now have a fairly sufficient road network. It’s ridiculous for us to continue to send money to DC only to have to beg for it back (with strings attached) later.

Gwinnett Guy

September 13th, 2011
10:41 am

Let the 18.4 cent tax expire and replace it with a 5 cent state tax. The estimates I found show that Georgia uses about 7 billion gallons of fuel each year. This would generate 350 million dollars in tax revenue for transportation.

I would rather see this than a 1% flat sales tax on every single thing that I buy that is currently proposed.

Van Jones

September 13th, 2011
11:06 am

Amen David Staples!!!

Understanding Atlanta

September 13th, 2011
11:13 am

With so much infrastructure crumbling it’s hard for me to fathom that either the state or federal government would do much to correct it. State’s have less beaucracy and will be able to better allocate funds to what’s needed…I suspect with the way state’s have been cutting their budgets, this influx in state taxes will be used for something other than roads. Then of course, our short memory will not recall this conversation and we’ll be blaming DC for more bridges falling and roads crumbling.


September 13th, 2011
11:35 am

Would love to see how the road builders and those under the gold dome divvy up this new found pot of gold.


September 13th, 2011
11:43 am

as a state resident paying state fuel taxes, property taxes,lost taxes, and splost taces, i can sau i trust the feds to spend the fed fuel taxes just as “good” as states and local governments have. F F F F F F….and its never enought for the sum@#$%

maybe if states need more tax money for roads, they can quit giving deadbeats like delta airlines tax breaks everybody else has to pay and use that money.

MARTA ride

September 13th, 2011
12:02 pm

georgia would need to change the law that only gas tax be applied to roads and bridges. That way some money, even 10%, can go to alternate forms of transportation. Commuter rail between cities and public transit. This will halp everyone in the state by getting people who prefer alternate modes of transportation the option of taking trains or buses than risk their lives with these idoits of the highways.

Road Scholar

September 13th, 2011
12:20 pm

Gwinnett: $350M is a drop in the bucket that is needed for improving our infrastructure and creating jobs.

I favor letting the Federal tax be turned into the state tax. Right now each state gets back 92% of the federal tax. The feds keep 8% for R&D (good) and their expenses for overseeing the federal aid program. Let the states collect the tax, pay a portion for R&D, and get rid of fed oversight and regulations. That will add 30% of the original tax to project delivery. Once rid of the feds contracting regs and oversight, the state s would have 30 % more for projects.

The above does not say that the environmental regs (state and fed) would be ignored, but streamlined and put on a learning curve for document approval. That alone would save time and money!


September 13th, 2011
12:20 pm

If all we’re doing is sending money to Washington so they can send it back to us, let’s cut out the middle man and take care of ourselves. I think we residents of Georgia are smart enough to figure out how to raise revenues for transportation infrastructure. And if we’re not, it’s nobody else’s business.


September 13th, 2011
12:23 pm

Perfect opportunity to get money paid to the fed back into state hands. Georgia could certainly benefit from 18.4 cents per gallon in tax to fund road projects inside the state. As long as the money could only be used for transportation funding, and GDOT is made to be more transparent in how the money is spent, it’s all good.


September 13th, 2011
12:31 pm

Georgia takes in far more in federal money than it pays to the Federal Government. If someone is being mistreated it’s U.S. taxpayers by the State of Georgia.


September 13th, 2011
12:44 pm

If Obama and his merry band of outlaws are not willing to allow drilling, then I say remove the gas tax

John Q.

September 13th, 2011
12:45 pm

Hank Johnson thinks they should continue fleece us. This, of course, is the same Hank Johnson who thought Guam would capsize when more Marines were stationed on it! Way to Go Hank! Keep Making Georgia proud!


September 13th, 2011
12:46 pm

The GA legislature should be fully accountable for any and all taxes that are taken from the citizens of GA (or gas purchasers) and how those monies are spent. It is far too easy to pretend that money coming from the feds is “magic money” without a source. This has led to wreckless spending on worthless transit projects.

GA should have a gasoline tax that is appropriate to pay for road maintenance and construction and those funds should be used for that and that only. If the legislature cannot handle that task, then privatize the whole thing and let the free market properly address the task.

Mr. “dont’ let Guam tip over” Johnson loves big government. He loves being able to take lots of money from faceless folks in other states and spend it wherever it will buy the most votes, etc. for him or his party. Frankly both parties suffer from the same problem. Having the money pass through the black hole of DC is just another cost, just another opportunity for waste, and just another pretense to emply more parasites in government who add nothing to the much needed process of building and repairing roads.

Pay where you Play

September 13th, 2011
12:57 pm

The idea behind the gas tax is smart. You drive, you buy gas, you pay taxes, they go towards infrastructure (hopefully). The problem is that the federal government gets it. If the gas tax stays, I at least want it to go to the states. This gives each state the ability to adjust the tax to pay for necessary improvements and potentially lower it to attract business and residents.


September 13th, 2011
1:03 pm

If the gas tax is repealed, gas companies will charge the same and profit an extra 32 billion a year. dont take if off obviously morons!


September 13th, 2011
4:16 pm

Perhaps someone can answer this. Who has funding responsibilities for Interstate & US highways within the borders of each state, specifically maintenance?

Road Scholar

September 13th, 2011
5:33 pm

Ernest: The state has responsibility for construction and maintenance of Interstates and roads on the national defense highway system which includes many US routes. Did you notice that ALL Interstates also bear state route numbers? The Feds supply 90% of the funding for Interstates with a state match of 10%. The 92% of the fed gas tax we get back is divided up into different programs for Interstates, US routes, major arterials, bridge maintenance, new bridges/replacements etc as well as specialty programs such as Enhancements, Safe Routes To School and Bike/Pedestrian, among other programs.

Earmarks (allegedly no more) usually come from the overall state allotment before dividing up the state’s funding into programs. Some of the larger ones came off the top before the states’ shares were figured.


September 13th, 2011
5:34 pm

I’ll take the guy with Guam tipping over Tom Graves. Mr. Graves borrowed money from the bank and will not pay it back. This guy is making monetary decision. He is nothing but a crook.

Road Scholar

September 13th, 2011
5:39 pm

Mr Liberty: “The GA legislature should be fully accountable …”

Isn’t that an oxymoron?

Doc Brown

September 13th, 2011
5:46 pm

Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need any roads.

Road Scholar

September 13th, 2011
6:18 pm

Doc: Did you text that while sitting in traffic? We need roads, bridges, etc to create mobility for people and goods. How else will our commerce improve?


September 13th, 2011
6:25 pm

I think the Big O needs to be gone from the Oval Office through resignation, his ideas for alleviating the nation’s problems have not been successful, or defeat in the 2012 elections.


September 13th, 2011
7:47 pm

Yes, abolish this tax and end the war we can’t afford. Use the proceeds from the war “savings” for much better projects please!

Road Scholar

September 13th, 2011
8:32 pm

I wonder if the conservatives would be in favor of a war tax to pay for the 2.5 wars? I mean, did they put these wars on the Budget? Did they cause the deficit to increase?


September 13th, 2011
8:54 pm

Honestly as I read the first paragraph I was thinking yeah, why not extend the federal gas tax. Then I read the second paragraph. If Hank Johnson think’s it’s a good idea, forget about it.


September 14th, 2011
7:40 am

The problem here is that the proceeds from this tax ia unequally dispersed to the States. The States that collect the most do not necessarly receive the most. That is what Tom Graves is referring to. A better idea would be for each state to collect this tax and use the proceeds within its own boarders for its own roads. Why send it to Washington and pay some federal employee to send it back to us???