Lawmakers push for federal gasoline tax hike to replenish National Highway Trust Fund

The bill would by 15 cents a gallon over the next three years in an effort. (4/23/14)

WOODBURY - Lawmakers are pushing for a bill that would hike the federal gasoline tax to replenish the National Highway Trust Fund.

The bill would raise the tax by 15 cents a gallon over the next three years.

Officials say the highway fund, established in 1920 to bankroll road and rail projects, may go broke by the fall.

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Marc Herbst, of the Long Island Contractors Association, says the federal gas tax hasn't increased since 1993.

"It's been since the Clinton administration that we've had a raise in the gas tax. Meanwhile, gas prices have gone through the roof," Herbst told News 12.

While replenishing the National Highway Trust Fund sounds like a good idea, motorists may be paying more at pumps across Long Island to fund it.

New York residents already pay the highest total gas taxes in the United States at 69 cents per gallon. Out of an average of $3.83 per gallon, the counties and state each take more than 25 cents, while the federal tax has remained at 18.4 cents per gallon.

Michael Watt, head of the Long Island Gasoline Retailers, says Congress must find another way to pay for repairs without reaching into motorists pockets.

"Our roads are in bad shape, but you have to ask the question: What are you doing with the money we're sending you already?” asks Watt.

The bill faces Republican opposition in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

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