New Taxes of £243m. to Meet U.S. Road Costs ?
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LARGE increases in the taxation on .1--0 oil fuel and petrol. and a tenfold advance in the federal tax on giant tyres, including retreads. are proposed in the Bill sponsored by Mr. G. H. Fallon. chairman of a road sub-committee and a member of the U.S.A. House of Representatives.
It was introduced as a substitute for the 10-year highway programme proposed by the President and another Bill approved by the Senate. Early estimates by the research department of the American Trucking Associations indicate.that the annual cost of this Bill to road users would be $686m. (i243m.). Heavy vehicles and buses would have to pay approximately 45 per cent. of the additional cost., but these represent only 3, per cent, of all the motor vehicles in the country.
The object is to finance. during 12 yeaTs. a highway-building programme to cost $47,000m. (approximately £17,000m.) and it is reported that the Bill has the support of the majority of the Democrats on the House Public Works Committee.
The proposals include a federal tax on oil fuel of six cents per gallon to replace the present two cents, whilst the tax on petrol and other fuels would be raised from two to three cents per gallon (a cent is a little less than Id.).
The rate for tyre covers and for inner tubes in the larger sizes would be 50 cents per lb. For retreads, 20 cents per lb. is suggested, this to include the weight of the casing, which would mean paying an additional 20 cents perlb. on the casing, plus the same rate on the rubber used for the work.
Another part of the Bill proposes to withhold federal contributions for sections of the interstate system of , highways which will run through states which: after next January. adopt size and weight laws more liberal than those recommended by the American Association of State Highway Officials.
The Bill has aroused great opposition amongst hauliers and other users of heavy vehicles, also from bus operators. . Present federal taxes on a six-axled lorry and trailer combination are $2,600 against $175 on a typical car. The same combination is also paying over S3,000 annually in state fuel taxes and registration fees. The suggested federal increases would involve an extra $2.400. bringing the total to over $8.000.
This singling out of vehicles owned and operated by industry, agriculture and hauliers would, it is claimed, make the operation of these vehicles economically impossible and jeopardize the jobs of nearly 7m. workers. There is also great objection to the discrimination as between oil fuel and petrol. "