Gas tax hike possible for infrastructure upgrades, Trump adviser says

Gary Cohn, the chief economic adviser to President Donald Trump, reportedly told lawmakers Wednesday that they will get a chance to vote for a gas hike early next year that would be used to pay for infrastructure improvements.

Politico Playbook, citing two unnamed House lawmakers at the meeting, reported Cohn's statement about the possible vote. The Hill reported that Cohn “seemed receptive to the idea.”

Fuel taxes have been unchanged since 1993 and created financial challenges for preserving the Highway Trust Fund.

The federal government currently finances its trust fund with an 18.4-cents-per-gallon tax on gasoline and a 24.4-cents-per-gallon tax on diesel fuel, neither of which are adjusted for inflation so the revenue raised has effectively fallen over time.

State-level Republican lawmakers have generally opposed raising fuel taxes.

Cohn, a former president at Goldman Sachs, is among the White House officials who’ve been working on Trump’s infrastructure plan. Another has been DJ Gribbin, former head of government relations at Macquarie Capital. Cohn selected Gribbin to join him on the National Economic Council in February as special assistant to the president for infrastructure policy, Fox Business reported.

The White House intends to back a 7-cent gas tax increase to pay for items like highways, bridges and other public works, the Hill reported.

Trump, in May, said he would explore the possibility of higher gasoline and diesel fuel taxes, suggesting an increase could pay for his ambitious infrastructure plan.

"It's something that I would certainly consider," Trump told Bloomberg News.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported, citing three sources, that Trump was unlikely to select Cohn to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, replacing Janet Yellen, whose term ends in February.

And Business Insider reported this week that Cohn is likely to leave the Trump administration soon after tax reform plans are realized. The report said Trump and Cohn's relationship has been strained since Cohn criticized Trump's remarks about the August violence in Charlottesville, Va.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.