Curtis Tate Published

Capito Not Signing On To Senate Plan to Suspend Federal Gas Tax

South Carolina state troopers (right) lead the first wave of cars evacuating on the reversed lane of Interstate 26 on Wednesday, as the state prepares for Hurricane Matthew.

A proposal in the U.S. Senate would suspend the federal gasoline tax for the rest of the year. But not everyone is on board.

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito says she’s not prepared to support a suspension of the gas tax proposed by some of her colleagues.

Democrats who face tough re-election campaigns this year want to lift the 18.4-cents-a-gallon tax to ease inflation pressures.

But that tax supports the federal highway trust fund, which pays for roads, bridges and transit systems. Last year, Congress approved a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, and if lawmakers suspended the gas tax, they’d have to find revenue somewhere else to make up for it.

“I think in the long run, it would have more long-term pain,” Capito said.

Capito is the senior Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, which authorizes infrastructure spending.

The federal gas tax has not changed since 1993. West Virginia’s state gas tax is currently 35.7 cents a gallon.