Gas Tax Increase is Vital to U.S. Economy and Public Safety

American Society of Civil Engineers Calls on Congress to Take Up Where the Deficit Commission Left Off

Reston, Va., December 3, 2010—The following statement is attributable to Kathy J. Caldwell, P.E., president of the American Society of Civil Engineers:

“President Obama’s Deficit Commission may not have been able to move forward a gas tax increase proposal that would have addressed the Highway Trust Fund’s insolvency issues, however, that doesn’t mean that Congress shouldn’t still focus on this critical issue.

“The public, and our economy, rely on the nation’s roads, bridges and transit systems everyday; despite this, for years we have consistently under-invested in their performance. The federal gas tax, which generates revenues reserved for highway and public transportation improvements, has lost one-third of its purchasing power since it was last adjusted 17 years ago. Now, as many of our roads, bridges and transit systems are sliding closer and closer to failure, it’s no longer a question of whether we can afford to increase our infrastructure investments; it’s now a question of how we can afford not to.

“It is understandable that in our current economic climate the American people may be wary of something that they perceive will cost them more money. However, as a nation, we need to realize and accept that a 15 cent increase in the gas tax will have far less of an impact on our checkbooks than the cost of failing infrastructure. Each year, traffic congestion alone costs the average motorist $750 in wasted time and fuel. How much of that might be saved by if we, as the users of these critical systems, were making the necessary levels of investment?

“That is why the American Society of Civil Engineers continues to urge Congress and the White House to take a leadership position in ensuring that the nation’s transportation infrastructure is able to meet the needs of the public and businesses by supporting an increase in the federal gas tax. Our prosperity depends on it.”

To learn more about ASCE’s Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, visit:

Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 140,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America’s oldest national engineering society. For more information, visit