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Trump reportedly endorses 25-cent hike in gas tax to pay for infrastructure plan

Tom DiChristopher | @tdichristopher 11 months ago
Trump reportedly endorses 25-cent hike in gas tax to pay for infrastructure plan

The current federal levy is 18.4 cents a gallon on retail gasoline and 24.4 cents a gallon for diesel. The increase floated by the president would presumably put the gasoline tax at 43.4 cents and diesel tax at just under 50 cents.

Trump endorsed raising the gasoline tax by a quarter at a White House meeting with members of his administration and Congress, two sources told Axios. Sen. Tom Carper, a Democrat from Delaware, told CNN Trump is open to a 25-cent hike for both the diesel and gasoline tax.

The president has communicated to staff that he is open to raising the gas tax for weeks, ever since the Chamber of Commerce first proposed it, CNBC can confirm.

The federal government has not raised the gas tax since 1993. Funds raised through the charge pay for road construction and investments in mass transportation through the Highway Trust Fund.

The issue has been on the table at least since May, when Trump suggested he might support raising the federal fuel levy. The White House tamped down reports of his support, but top economic adviser Gary Cohn later told lawmakers would get a chance to debate a hike during infrastructure negotiations.

Earlier this month, Cohn revisited the idea in a meeting with Republicans, where some GOP lawmakers supported the idea, while other raised concerns, Axios reported.

The opponents include Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, who expressed his opposition in a private donor retreat hosted by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch.

On Monday, nearly 30 conservative groups opposed raising the gas tax in a letter to lawmakers.

"Raising the gas tax is a bad idea," the signatories wrote. "It will make the burden of government on families and businesses heavier. A higher gas tax means higher prices not just on gas, but on goods and services throughout the economy."

— CNBC's Kayla Tausche and Ylan Mui contributed to this report.