Norquist Won’t Oppose Extension of U.S. Gasoline, Diesel Taxes

Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist said he won’t oppose an extension of U.S. gasoline and diesel-fuel taxes set to expire Sept. 30, as he pushes for broader transportation-funding overhaul.

Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said today that an extension with no changes wouldn’t violate a pledge signed by many congressional lawmakers not to raise taxes.

That may allow Republicans to agree to extend surface transportation funding and authority to collect the gasoline tax. The Federal Aviation Administration last month temporarily lost its authority to collect airline ticket taxes when Congress couldn’t agree on an extension bill for that agency, and about 4,000 FAA workers were furloughed for two weeks.

“We’re interested in the broader issue that states should keep their own fuel taxes. We don’t want it run through Washington,” Norquist said in a telephone interview. “Why should Connecticut pay for what’s going on in Wyoming and Wyoming pay for the New York City subway system?”

The federal government receives 18.4 cents from the sale of every gallon of gas for the Highway Trust Fund, which pays for road and bridge construction projects, and uses a formula to determine how much money each state gets in return. Under the current plan, some states receive less money than they send to the federal government while others get more.

‘Their Own Taxes’

“We want to show governors how much they can keep of their own taxes,” he said. “We want them to understand that this reform can happen in their term.”

Eliminating the federal gas tax will take between two to five years, he said. Norquist hopes to drum up support for two bills that allow states to opt out of the Highway Trust Fund.

“Prying Washington’s hands off the money will take some time,” he said.