Clinton Camp May Rethink Gas Tax Strategy

With a big loss in North Carolina and a razor-thin victory in Indiana, the Times reports that Senator Hillary Clinton’s advisers are expected to reconsider her campaign strategy for upcoming Democratic primaries — specifically, whether to continue pushing for a federal gas tax cut.

Clinton advisers also said that the candidates and her team would discuss her political message going forward and whether her signature issue over the last two weeks – a suspension of the federal gas tax this summer – was worth extending to the upcoming primary states of West Virginia and Kentucky.

While some advisers said that the message helped make Mrs. Clinton more popular with working class and financially struggling voters, some analysts said that it angered Democrats in Washington who dislike the gas tax idea, and that it was too small an issue to run on credibly. (Mr. Obama opposes the gas tax relief, calling it a gimmick.)

"In 1976 Ronald Reagan had a big principled argument to continue against Gerald Ford, built around détente and economic policy, and in ’80 Kennedy had a big principled argument about health care and economic policy," said Mr. Shrum, who worked on the Kennedy campaign. "What is her big principled argument against Obama? The gas tax holiday?"

Though polls showed Americans didn’t see the cut as a solution to high gas prices, Clinton upped the ante heading into Tuesday’s primaries by challenging Congress to take an up-or-down vote on the issue. And though some of her advisers may see it as a loser, another Times story from today indicates that the candidate, for the moment at least, might disagree. Speaking to supporters last night in Indiana:

Mrs. Clinton again promoted her plan to lift the federal gasoline tax for the summer and impose a windfall-profits tax on the oil companies.

  • i’m so glad she came out in favor of this. it makes the decision that much more clear that she’s not the candidate of choice. this is a no-brainer.

    OBAMA!

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

On Election Day, Reading the Transportation TEA Leaves

|
Though we found plenty of fodder this election season, transportation policy never emerged as a consistent talking point in the presidential race. This is more than a little surprising, considering the sad state of American infrastructure and the importance of same to this country’s economic and strategic well-being. Then again, what kind of dialogue can […]

LaHood to Congress: It’s Time to Talk About a Gas Tax Increase

|
As Congress maneuvers to end the political impasse over the next long-term national transportation bill, lawmakers going to have to debate an increase in the federal gas tax, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said today. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (Photo: Getty Images) In his remarks at a Fort Worth transportation meeting, first reported by the local […]
STREETSBLOG USA

Mr. Villaraigosa Goes to Washington to Pitch 30 in 10

|
Senators began searching today for new strategies to connect local planners with an ever-dwindling pot of federal infrastructure dollars, even as a senior U.S. DOT aide declined to say whether the White House’s upcoming principles for the next long-term transportation bill would include funding specifics. Antonio Villaraigosa is seeking a bridge loan from Washington to […]
Relying on the gas tax instead of replacing it with mileage-based driving fees could cost Oregon $340 million over 10 years, according to the state DOT. Image: ODOT [PDF]
STREETSBLOG USA

Oregon’s Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fees: Ready for Prime Time, But Waiting for Approval

|
Oregon has led the way in developing an alternative to the gas tax, with a pilot program that levies a fee on vehicle miles traveled. While the Oregon Department of Transportation has spent years developing the mileage-based program and is ready to expand it to all vehicles statewide, it's not part of the massive transportation spending package under discussion at the legislature.