The best way to keep government transportation coffers full is to increase the gas tax, Sen. Bob Corker told CNBC on Wednesday.
The Tennessee Republican and Democrat Chris Murphy from Connecticut want to raise the federal gasoline and diesel tax by 12 cents a gallon to prevent the Highway Trust Fund, which pays for about half of the country's infrastructure projects, from running out of money in August.
"Every so often we go through this charade that we're going through this month, where we'll steal money from future generations to make it whole," Corker said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "Congress will throw kids under the bus to pay for this."
The gasoline tax is now 18.4 cents a gallon, and the diesel tax is 24.4 cents a gallon.
The tax has not been increased since 1993, and hiking taxes is politically unpopular ahead of midterm elections in November. "Its purchasing power today is 63 percent of what it was," Corker calculated.
In a competing approach, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has proposed a $9 billion infusion into the Highway Trust Fund as part of a stopgap effort to keep federal money flowing to highway-construction projects through the end of 2014.
Corker said Wyden's plan to borrow money for "future generations to pay back" is not the way to go.
Wyden's proposal would be paid for in a variety of ways, including higher taxes on heavy trucks, distribution-rule changes for inherited retirement accounts and measures to improve tax compliance.
Corker knows his gas tax plan is unpopular and probably won't go anywhere. "I know that Congress is going to do the noncourageous thing over the next 30 days. It's really disappointing to see," he said.