NASHVILLE - U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and a Democratic colleague today proposed raising federal gasoline and diesel taxes for the first time since 1993 as Congress grapples with a looming shortfall in the federal Highway Trust Fund.
Under the plan, the fuel taxes would rise by 12 cents over the next two years with a 6-cent increase slated for next year and another 6 cents the following year. The current federal gasoline tax is 18.4 percent a gallon.
The Highway Trust Fund is expected to be broke sometime in August, endangering any number of road projects in Tennessee and the rest of the country.
Corker and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, touted the plan as a bipartisan solution.
A key provision is a Corker proposal that links a number of temporary deductions on federal income tax returns, including one that provides Tennesseans a deduction on the state sales taxes they pay, among the nation's highest.
For years, Congress has temporarily extended the deductions on an annual basis. Corker said he wants to permanently extend them, a move he said would render the fuel tax increases revenue neutral.
For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.