Washington, D.C. — The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) today called Senator John McCain's proposal for a temporary moratorium on gas taxes "irresponsible and short-sighted."

Based on the Bush administration's budget projections, AGC estimates that Senator McCain's proposal for a "gas tax holiday" from Memorial Day to Labor Day would cost the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) $8.5 billion. McCain's proposal comes at a time when the HTF is already bleeding red ink. The proposed revenue cut would reduce federal highway funding to states by as much as 80 percent. A "gas tax holiday" would require massive cutbacks in transportation improvements nationwide, which would have far-reaching impacts throughout the economy.

"Senator McCain's proposal will hurt consumers and is bad economic policy," said AGC's Chief Executive Officer Stephen E. Sandherr. "This proposal is not guaranteed to lower gas prices and ignores the real causes for the price increases."

McCain's proposal would further undermine states' efforts to address safety, congestion, deteriorating infrastructure and economic development needs. Specifically, states and localities could face significant reductions in spending for transportation planning, highway and bridge repairs, public transit, clean air programs and most importantly highway safety. Also, without a predictable flow of Federal transportation funds, states and localities will have to defer vitally-needed transportation projects, which will increase their costs and result in safety concerns.

"A gas tax moratorium threatens billions of investment dollars and also puts at risk 295,000 transportation construction and related jobs," added Sandherr. "It's a bad idea at a time when the U.S. economy is heading in the wrong direction."

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) is the largest and oldest national construction trade association in the United States. AGC represents 33,000 firms, including 7,500 of America's leading general contractors and 12,500 specialty–contracting firms. More than 13,000 service providers and suppliers are associated with AGC through a nationwide network of chapters. Visit the AGC Web site at AGC members are "Building Your Quality of Life."