The Associated General Contractors of America’s chief executive officer, Stephen E. Sandherr, released the following statement in response to the Deficit Commission’s decision to recommend a 15 cent increase to the federal gas tax as part of its plan to address the country’s growing fiscal imbalance:
“The Deficit Commission proposal wisely appreciate that the best way to reduce the deficit and simultaneously support a strong and expanding economy is to invest in our aging network of highways, bridges and transit systems. Even as the broader report calls for dramatic reductions in federal spending, the commission report makes clear that our country can’t afford to neglect the infrastructure that has driven fifty years of economic growth and prosperity.
“Thanks to the transportation proposal, countless thousands of employers will benefit from the reduced shipping costs, improved efficiency and greater levels of safety that a modern and effective transportation network promises. Indeed, the construction industry alone loses an estimated $20 billion a year because of chronic traffic delays, safety threats and increased costs that come from our aging network of roads, bridges and transit systems.
“Improving our transportation network will also help shoppers keep more of what they earn and farmers earn more for what they grow. Meanwhile, the proposal’s guarantee that future general fund transfers into the program will no longer be needed protects taxpayers for years to come.
“Even as the impact of the broader deficit reduction proposal on the health of the hard-hit construction industry remains unclear, there is no doubt that the transportation proposal is sound. That is why we are urging all members of Congress to ensure that any final plan to reduce our deficit includes the commission’s wise counsel to raise the federal gas tax and bring our transportation system back to a state of good repair.”