May 8, 2017 9:50 AM, EDT

Top House Transportation Democrat Warns Against Expansion of Tolling

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

President Donald Trump’s suggestion of privatizing infrastructure projects that could expand tolling nationwide would fail to gain broad public support, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), ranking member on the House transportation panel, told reporters May 7.

DeFazio said he shared his concern over tolling when he met with White House officials overseeing infrastructure policy earlier this year.

“As I told Mr. Trump’s transportation adviser, I said, ‘I really think the people who live in Trump country out there aren’t going to be really pleased if they’re still paying a federal gas tax and now they’re paying a private entity to repair their bridges or resurface or rebuild their rural interstate.’ That’s not going to go over too big,” DeFazio said on C-SPAN’s Newsmakers program.

In March, DeFazio introduced legislation designed to increase the gasoline and diesel taxes by about a penny a gallon to come up with $500 billion for roads, bridges and transit networks. Republican leaders have yet to schedule a hearing to consider DeFazio’s bill.

The congressional leadership is waiting for guidance on infrastructure from the Trump administration. The president  has yet to unveil a $1 trillion, 10-year plan that would likely invest in infrastructure through public funds and public-private partnerships.