UPDATE/CORRECTION: Never mind.**
Earlier I blogged:
File this under you've got to be kidding me! NBC News is reporting that the American Petroleum Institute president Jack Gerard said that his organization might be in favor of higher gasoline taxes if the funds were used to subsidize the construction of oil and gas pipeline and/or upgrade railroads to help transport crude. From NBC News:
In a conference call with reporters this week, the American Petroleum Institute, the oil and gas industry organization that normally embraces market-based energy policies, said it was neutral on the idea of hiking gas taxes.
API president Jack Gerard told reporters that the lobbying group "never opposed" a gas tax hike, but argued that policymakers needed to look beyond just funding road and bridge projects.
He added that the U.S. energy boom raised the necessity for oil and gas pipelines should also benefit from an infusion of federal funding, leaving open the prospect that the API could back a hike in the gas tax.
"We do believe we should look at infrastructure beyond the historic ways of viewing it for bridges and roads and say to ourselves, what about pipelines?" Gerard asked. "What about rail build-out? What about that other infrastructure necessary to make our market more efficient as an energy producer, an energy superpower?"
I really really hope* that this is a misquote instead of another sad example of creeping crony capitalism.
*My hope has been fulfilled. The folks at API sent along their request to NBC to make a correction based on the transcript of API president Jack Gerard's remarks. Gerard was not asking for subsidies, but contrasting the job creation possibilities of spending on public infrastructure spending versus the job creation possibilties of private spending on energy-related infrastructure.
**Quoting Emily Litella.
From the transcript as sent by API:
Well, it might surprise a lot of you that in the past, API has not taken a position on the gas tax. In fact, for those who propose increasing it for highway building and funding, et cetera, we've never opposed that. (emphasis added) We believe it's a matter of public policy; if the government believes that's the way to generate revenue to build the infrastructure that those cars drive on, the bridges they cross, et cetera—we haven't really entered into that debate.
But I think, Nick, it raises another point that's very important. That is when you look at the highway bill, the breadth and scope of it, as a nation—and this is part of my earlier comments about the American moment—as a nation, we already always focus on that highway bill as a major jobs creator, infrastructure (spend), which it is. But if you look at the potential private investments from the oil and natural gas industry, over the next decade, reports have concluded we could spend as much as $1.15 trillion in infrastructure (bill). (emphasis added) Private sector dollars, capital investment combined with what they're doing on public projects like infrastructure, highway bills, this is a great opportunity for the country, particularly in these tough economic times.
So, while we don't take a position on the gas tax, Nicks, we—Nick, we do believe we should look at infrastructure beyond the historic ways of viewing it for bridges and roads and say to ourselves, what about pipelines? What about rail build-out? What about that other infrastructure necessary to make our market more efficient as an energy producer, an energy superpower?