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WASHINGTON, D.C. — NATSO members descended on Capitol Hill to urge legislators to consider increasing the motor fuels tax as a source of highway funding during National Transportation Week.
During the visit to Washington, D.C., more than 60 association members representing the truck stop and travel plaza community asked federal lawmakers to find permanent, sustainable solutions to the Highway Trust Fund that do not harm exit-based businesses.
According to NATSO, raising the motor fuel tax — which has not be increased since 1993 — could help fill the Highway Trust Fund shortfall.
However, the organization asked lawmakers to oppose any efforts to weaken the federal ban on rest stop commercialization or tolling of existing interstates to generate revenue — both of which NATSO called "inefficient, counter-productive mechanisms."
Citing the Federal Highway Administration's Highway Statistics 2015 report, NATSO said a 20-cent increase in the motor fuels tax would raise $34 billion per year for the nation's infrastructure at a cost of just more than $100 per year per passenger vehicle.
By comparison, the Road Information Program and the Texas Transportation Institute report that the cost of wear and tear from unreliable roads and congestion cost the average driver $1,483 per year.
"Businesses consistently spend money upgrading their facilities because they know it will keep them performing well and lead to a good return on investment. This same acumen needs to be applied to the nation's infrastructure," said NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings.
"If paying $100 more is guaranteed to dramatically reduce a $1,400 expense, why wouldn't we choose to spend that $100? There is a real economic benefit that comes back to the American people. It's a guaranteed return."
While meeting with legislators, NATSO members also voiced concerns over efforts to repeal debit card swipe fee reform through the Financial CHOICE Act.
Alexandria, Va.-based NATSO is the trade association of the U.S. travel plaza and truck stop industry. Founded in 1960, NATSO represents the industry on legislative and regulatory matters; serves as the official source of information on the diverse travel plaza and truck stop industry; and provides education to its members