Trump open to raising gasoline tax to finance $1T infrastructure plan

President Trump told Bloomberg News in a Monday interview he would consider raising the federal gasoline tax to offset costs of his anticipated $1 trillion infrastructure plan.

Discussing a myriad of issues at the White House, Trump touted his forthcoming outline to improve America’s roads, bridges and other public structures, which the American Society of Civil Engineers gave a near failing grade in their March U.S. infrastructure report.

“It’s something that I would certainly consider, if we earmarked money toward the highways,” Trump said.

Last raised in 1993 during the Clinton administration, the excise tax rests at 18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline, and 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Highway Trust Fund, which distributes funds to states, is nearly insolvent.

Shortly after Trump’s interview, White House spokesman Sean Spicer expanded on Trump’s earlier comments to Bloomberg, saying the president was merely expressing his willingness to weigh a hike in the gas tax and his statements were not an endorsement of a tax increase.

The White House has yet to release any proposal details, although Spicer said an infrastructure plan is “absolutely” in the works; it is expected to be unveiled in the coming months.

Trump later discussed his desire for a “reciprocal” tax and his craving for his tax plan, particularly his tax cuts, to be permanent.

Separately, Trump discussed the future of top aide Steve Bannon,  whose role in the White House the subject of much media attention and a lightening rod for criticism.  Trump told Bloomberg Bannon is staying put.

Trump added the rift between Bannon and son-in-law Jared Kushner has been resolved and the two have have mended fences.

“Bannon is a very decent guy who feels very strongly about the country,” the president said. “Likewise, Jared. And they’re getting along fine,”

“We have a lot of people that are getting along well,” he continued. “It’s coming out better now than it was, you know, for a while. And for a while it was a little testy, I guess for some of them, but I said, ‘You’ve got to get your acts together.”

 

[Bloomberg] [The Hill] [Photo courtesy Getty Images via Vanity Fair]