As Gas Prices Tumble, Ed Rendell Calls for Tax Hikes

Democratic former governor tells CNBC it is time to raise federal gas tax.

The dramatic fall of gas and oil prices meant relief for holiday travelers and more money in the pockets of shoppers. MarketWatch reported one estimate of the savings that equated it to a $75 billion tax cut for households.

But rather than let drivers enjoy the much needed respite from years of gas prices above $3-a-gallon, former governor of Pennsylvania, Democrat Ed Rendell said it was the time to raise the federal gas tax to fix the nation’s “crumbling” infrastructure. He touted a bill by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., to raise the 18-cents-a-gallon federal gas tax by 12 cents per gallon in the next two years. That would be a 66 percent increase.

Rendell argued that on CNBC’s “On the Money” Dec. 5, saying, “Our infrastructure’s crumbling. Our roads and our bridges are in dangerous condition and it actually will save people money. The Texas Transportation Institute says that the average driver loses $800 a year in gas wasted in congestion, and in damage and in hurt to their car.” Rendell claimed the Corker/Murphy proposal would cost less than that.

CBS’s “60 Minutes” aired a segment on Nov. 23, also complaining about an infrastructure crisis and promoting increased taxes, especially increased gas taxes to fund it. At no time in the lengthy “60 Minutes” segment was anyone asked why the huge stimulus bill that the Obama administration said would create millions of “shovel ready” jobs and improve infrastructure had failed to do just that.

— Julia A. Seymour is Assistant Managing Editor for MRC Business at the Media Research Center. Follow Julia A. Seymour on Twitter.