May 21, 2014 9:15 AM, EDT

ATA Backs Indexing Fuel Tax to Inflation

Proposes ‘Highway Access Fee’ to Fund Infrastructure

American Trucking Associations said it has endorsed indexing the federal fuel taxes based on inflation and adding an annual “highway access fee” for all motorists, as well as several other options to address the nation’s surface transportation infrastructure funding crisis.

The group also backs use of royalties from new oil and gas leases, a per-barrel tax on imported oil and domestic crude production and issuing Treasury bonds subsidized with revenue from indexing the fuel tax.

“While we continue to believe that the fuel tax is the fairest, most efficient method of funding our highway system, we also recognize the political difficulties of getting an increase through Congress,” ATA President Bill Graves said.

“The work of this task force lays out what is acceptable to the trucking industry, and what should be acceptable to our political leaders to address the Highway Trust Fund crisis,” he said in a statement.

As a last resort, ATA supports transfers from the general fund to ensure short-term Highway Trust Fund stability.

“When the process began, we had a list of more than 30 potential funding sources,” Pat Thomas, ATA’s vice chairman and vice president of UPS Inc., said in a statement. “What we’ve narrowed that down to is a list of options that could provide the resources needed to address the critical highway and bridge upgrades we need.”

The Highway Trust Fund is projected to run out of funds as soon as August.