August 9th, 2007
12:25 PM ET
4 years ago

Bush won't back gas tax hike for bridges

WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Bush said Thursday he doesn’t support increasing gasoline taxes to pay for bridge repairs, calling on Congress to instead change its priorities on spending.

Several members of the House Transportation Committee are calling for the tax hike in the wake of the deadly 35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis last week. Congressman James Oberstar, D-Minnesota, Wednesday said he would introduce legislation for bridge repair funding, as well as increased inspections. He says a 5-cent increase in the gas tax would pay for the three-year proposed program, generating $8.5 billion a year.

Citing 74,000 bridges rated by the federal government as “structurally deficient,” Oberstar told reporters, “We cannot wait for another tragedy. We must, and we will, act decisively."

But at Thursday’s White House news conference, President Bush said, “It's an interesting question, about how Congress spends and prioritizes highway money. My suggestion would be that they revisit the process by which they spend gasoline money in the first place.”

Mr. Bush criticized the way Congress approves projects, saying, “From my perspective, the way it seems to have worked is that each member on that committee gets to set his or her own priority first, and then what's ever left over is spent to a funding formula. That's not the right way to prioritize the people's money. So before we raise taxes which could affect economic growth, I would strongly urge the Congress to examine how they set priorities.”

“If bridges are a priority,” said Mr. Bush, then “let's make sure we set that priority first and foremost, before we raise taxes. “

A new CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll out Thursday shows while 52 percent of respondents are worried another bridge may collapse somewhere around the county, 65% percent would oppose an increase in the gas tax.

– CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk 


Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Logic. Think, America!

    It is interesting how he also spends and prioritizes war money. Remember, our lives are all about the War on Terror. Forget the rest. Gas tax, health insurance, education, peace in the Middle East, and protecting the environment/conserving resources is for pussies. I guess once the former/racist First Lady Barb, Poppy Bush, Laura, and his drug addicted twins Jenna and 'Barbara Jr.' fall off a collapsing bridge he will change his course of action...not until it hits home and it stinks!

    August 9, 2007 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  2. Anna Sheehan, Woodbridge, VA

    The cost for repairing this country's infrastructure is estimated to be 9 million a year for 20 years for a total cost of $180,000,000,000. The current total for the war in Iraq – $450,624,275,000 and counting. You do the math.
    According to this administration we are fighting them over there so the terrorists will not come here. They don't need to. Our bridges and overpasses are doing their work for them.

    August 9, 2007 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  3. Chris kankakee , IL

    I find it Ironic that The same people who said if they were elected they would lower gas prices want to increase the tax on gas.

    August 9, 2007 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  4. destardi, Chicago, IL

    No, he's going to ask China for a loan...you know, to add to the X0X0X0X trillion dollar debt he's created...Thanks bush!

    August 9, 2007 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  5. VERGO, ROCKVILLE, MD

    TAKE THE MONEY OUT OF MILITARY SPENDING.

    August 10, 2007 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  6. Rick Biddle, Sharpsburg GA 30277

    It is difficult to believe that anyone would suggest increasing the tax on fuel. My weekly fuel bill is twice what it was in 2000 and that affects my spending in the grocery store, means fewer entertainment dollars available, replacement of some durable goods posponed or bypassed completely, the ability to put a few dollars away for unplanned emergencies diminished, and on and on and on. Find the money somewhere else, NO NEW TAXES, especially not when they take food off the table of low and middle class America!!!

    August 10, 2007 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  7. Anonymous

    I hope people are paying attention to this. The gas tax pays for roads and bridges, so getting rid of the income tax should be something everyone supports. Ron Paul in '08.

    August 10, 2007 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  8. Carl, Dallas, Texas

    Guess what folks. The price of gas has gone up from 1 dollar to 3 dollars, and the amount of tax taken away for transportation has stayed the same... around 20 cents per gallon...

    It needs to be raised a minimum of 40 cents per gallon to at least help out this failing infrastructure...

    Carl.. Transportation Engineer

    August 10, 2007 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |