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A traffic jam in Chicago. Photo: Patrick Gorski/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A White House adviser working to pass President Trump’s infrastructure package is casting doubt on whether a hike in the gas tax, as it’s currently structured, would do its intended job:

“We need to figure out as a country what kind of infrastructure we want for the next 50 years and then decide how we’re going to pay for it, instead of finding ourselves in the traditional legacy arguments of gas tax or no gas tax."
— Alexander Herrgott, associate director for infrastructure at WH Council on Environmental Quality

Why it matters: Trump endorsed a 25-cent gas tax hike to pay for his infrastructure package at a White House meeting Wednesday, Axios’ Jonathan Swan reports. The idea is likely dead on arrival on Capitol Hill, where many Republicans say they’re not about to hike taxes right after passing tax cuts.

Gritty details: The federal gas tax, which Congress hasn't raised since 1993, stands at 18.4 cents. The revenue goes toward the Highway Trust Fund, which is used to maintain the nation’s roads, highways and mass transit systems. Current law restricts the tax’s funds from being used for any other type of infrastructure, the point Herrgott was making Tuesday night at an event hosted by Republican Women for Progress, a conservative women's’ group.

“How can we talk about rebuilding and assessing a user fee like a gas tax when we haven’t adequately communicated what they’re getting for those dollars?” Herrgott said. “Before we have the conversation about raising revenue for just highways, we are trying to address airports, bridges, transit facilities, water, etc. – a much broader agenda. That’s what we’re really trying to do.”

One level deeper: Much of the nation’s infrastructure is paid for by siloed forms of tax revenues, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan think tank. Airports, for example, are maintained with their own trust fund and a ticket tax.

“Of course Congress can amend the structure and redirect it [the gas tax] in some infrastructure package,” said Steve Ellis, spokesman for the group. “But there are already those that complain gas tax dollars should just go to roads, not transit or bus or anything else. And the fact is it doesn’t generate enough revenue for the amount Congress already wants to spend!”

Go deeper

Scoop: Inside the GOP's plan to retake the House

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Republicans will reclaim their majority in 2022 by offering candidates who are women, minorities or veterans, a memo obtained by Axios says.

Why it matters: The document, drafted by a super PAC blessed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, names top Democrats to target — Jared Golden of Maine, Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania and Ron Kind of Wisconsin — and the type of Republican candidates to beat them.

13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump talked out of early Ohio endorsement

Jane Timken at a 2017 Trump rally. Photo: Kyle Mazza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Donald Trump had to be talked out of making an early endorsement in Ohio's 2022 U.S. Senate race, a sign of his eagerness to reengage politically, people familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

What we're hearing: The former president discussed endorsing former state GOP chair Jane Timken last week during a meeting at Mar-a-Lago with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, but top advisers — including Donald Trump Jr. — urged him to wait.

Scoop: Parscale launches super PAC

Brad Parscale. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale has founded a new super PAC and sister advocacy group, public records show.

Why it matters: The groups will allow Parscale himself to back candidates aligned with Donald Trump ahead of the 2022 midterms. They could also be used to deploy his new political data firm and harvest vital voter information for other clients.