Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-09) released the following statement today in response to the Senate's vote on Amendment 1756, the Transportation Empowerment Act. The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), would lower the federal gas tax and devolve the power of the Federal Highway Trust Fund back to the states. Rep. Graves introduced the House's version of this legislation, which still awaits a vote. The Senate voted 30-67 against the measure.
"While Sen. DeMint has led admirably on this issue, the Senate failed to act responsibly by voting down legislation that would have devolved a federal agency for the first time -- and returned some power and flexibility back to the states. American taxpayers currently pay $400 million a year to support the federal bureaucracy that oversees the federal highway system. In this era of spiraling debt and deficits, we need to be looking for creative solutions to be more efficient with Americans' money."
"With Americans across our great nation feeling the pain at the pump due to skyrocketing gas prices, it boggles the mind that the Democrat-controlled Senate would shoot down a proposal which would give states the flexibility to put money back in the pockets of their citizens."
The Transportation Empowerment Act would lower the federal gas tax from the current rate of 18.4 cents per gallon to 3.7 cents per gallon over a five-year period. States would then be able to adjust their own gas tax rates according to their needs, and keep all of the subsequent revenue.
Currently, 28 states, including Georgia, put more into the Highway Trust Fund than they receive from the federal government. During the fiscal years 2005-2009, Georgia lost $839 million dollars in gas revenue, receiving back just 89% of what it put into the fund.