1982 Reagan Gas Tax Proposal Highlighted
The Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) and industry allies have launched a new television, radio, print advertising campaign to put increased pressure on Congress to fix the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), and boost federal highway and public transit investment. The TCC is also utilizing digital ads asking commuters in key states to contact their congressmen and senators on the issue.
The effort highlights how conservative and tax-cutting champion President Ronald Reagan got it right when he said that “common sense” tells us that it’s less expansive to keep our transportation infrastructure in good repair than to let it crumble and have to rebuild.
Reagan also was on the money when he added that, wherever possible, assessing a fee on the people who benefit from a public service is “good tax policy” to pay for that service.
“Our highways were built largely with such a user fee – the gasoline tax,” Reagan said in a November 1982 radio address to the nation. “I think it makes sense to follow that principle in restoring them to the condition we all want them to be in.”
The 60-second television ad, sponsored by the TCC and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), airs June 16-18 on Fox News and CNN inside Washington, D.C., and is scheduled to coincide with this week’s House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committee hearings on the future of transportation financing. Watch the ad.
The latest funding authorization for the highway and public transit program supported through the HTF expires July 31. Congress continues to struggle in reaching agreement on a sustainable funding solution.
The TCC is also rolling out a 60-second radio ad featuring Reagan, which airs June 16-18 during morning and afternoon drive time on WTOP, D.C.’s top news-talk station. Listen to the spot.
Complimentary, full-page TCC print ads will appear this week in Capitol Hill publications. The ads call for an increase in the federal gas tax and note that nearly 90 percent of Republican and Democratic state legislators who voted to increase their state’s gas tax or equivalent during the last election cycle to fund transportation improvements were re-elected. The TCC has also placed companion digital ads targeting congressional staff.
The TCC initiative extends beyond the Nation’s Capital and features digital advertising targeting voters in the states of these congressional and tax committee leaders:
- House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)
- House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)
- Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
- House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky)
- House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.)
- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
- Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)
- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
- Tom Price Price (R-Ga.) Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.)
- Todd Young (R-Ind.)
- Richard Burr (R-N.C.)
- Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)
- Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.)
When clicked on the digital ads will take voters to a petition that they can sign and have sent to their respective members of Congress.
The TCC says it plans to continue a wide-range of advertising and grassroots activities in the run up to the July 31 deadline to keep the pressure on Congress to fix the HTF and then pivot to passage of a long-term surface transportation bill.
Established in 1996 and co-chaired by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association and the Associated General Contractors of America, the 31 associations and labor unions that make up the TCC have a direct market interest in the federal transportation program. TCC members include:
American Road & Transportation Builders Association (co-chair); Associated General Contractors of America (co-chair); American Coal Ash Association; American Concrete Pavement Association; American Concrete Pipe Association; American Council of Engineering Companies; American Subcontractors Association; American Iron and Steel Institute; American Society of Civil Engineers; American Traffic Safety Services Association; Asphalt Emulsion Manufacturers Association; Asphalt Recycling & Reclaiming Association; Associated Equipment Distributors; Association of Equipment Manufacturers; Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute; International Slurry Surfacing Association; International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers; International Union of Operating Engineers; Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust; Laborers’ International Union of North America; National Asphalt Pavement Association; National Association of Surety Bond Producers; National Electrical Contractors Association; National Ready Mixed Concrete Association; National Steel Bridge Alliance; National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association; National Utility Contractors Association; Portland Cement Association; Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute; The Road Information Program; and United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.