Schwarzenegger calls for gas tax hike

March 22, 2009 at 10:15 PM

WASHINGTON, March 22 (UPI) -- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Sunday the federal government should consider raising the gasoline tax to pay for public works improvements.

In an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," the Republican governor said an increase in the federal 18.4 cent per gallon gasoline tax could bankroll projects that have broad public support.

"I think one has to look at it," Schwarzenegger said. "That is the next question, maybe, how do you finance all of this? But I think the important thing is that there's a willingness amongst the people to pay for it."

The governor said projects funded by a tax increase should be financed partly through public-private partnerships.

Also appearing on the show were Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent. They each called for increased federal infrastructure spending.

"This country desperately needs to build a high-speed rail passenger system," Rendell said. "We need to improve our rail freight system. But it's not just transportation. It's the levees that failed in Cedar Rapids (Iowa) and New Orleans. It's dams, it's water and waste water systems. It's so much more."

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