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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

Federal judge orders Trump administration to restore DACA

DACA recipients and their supporters rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 18. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, giving undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children a chance to petition for protection from deportation.

Why it matters: DACA was implemented under former President Obama, but President Trump has sought to undo the program since taking office. Friday’s ruling will require Department of Homeland Security officers to begin accepting applications starting Monday and guarantee that work permits are valid for two years.

Updated 54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Health: CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use" — Death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased testing can reduce transmission.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Cities: Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.
2 hours ago - Health

Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate

Golden Gate Park. Photo: Justin Sullivan via Getty

Counties around the San Francisco Bay Area will adopt California’s new regional stay-at-home order amid surges in cases and ICU hospitalizations, health officials said Friday.

The big picture: California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a three-week stay-at-home order on Thursday that would go into effect in regions with less than 15% ICU capacity. Despite the Bay Area’s current 25.3% ICU capacity, health officials from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and the city of Berkeley are moving ahead with a shelter-in-place mandate in the hopes of reducing risk.