A slow-motion pile-up is coming into view on U.S. highways and Capitol Hill this summer: federal funding for road construction is running out and Congress faces a big fight over how to replenish it.
The trucking industry, many state transportation directors and even a few lawmakers say the simple solution to shore up the Highway Trust Fund and avoid construction layoffs is to raise federal fuel taxes, unchanged since 1993.
But in a congressional election year in which both Democrats and Republicans are wary of voter backlash, the message is clear: Not going to happen.
"We have never proposed or a supported a gas tax," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Monday.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner also opposes an increase in fuel taxes, an aide said. And earlier this year, Boehner all but ruled out another transfer of general funds to keep the Highway Trust Fund afloat.