ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden quickly backed away from remarks supporting a raise in the gas tax to pay for highway repairs.
Fresh off Tuesday's GOP primary win to challenge Democratic Sen. Al Franken this fall, McFadden told the St. Cloud Times (http://on.sctimes.com/1oxdj9D) and other reporters Wednesday he'd support raising fuel taxes to bolster the Highway Trust Fund, so long as other cuts offset the tax increase. After talking with aides, McFadden returned to insist he opposes a gas tax hike, then left the event in St. Cloud.
The federal Highway Trust Fund has flirted with insolvency for years. It's funded largely through gasoline and diesel fuel taxes, which haven't been raised since 1993.
McFadden later told the Times he misspoke in his initial support of a tax hike, and said he'd prefer to shore up the trust fund through a larger overhaul of the federal tax codes. He did not provide any specifics about new revenue streams for the fund.
"I don't know exactly what the right answer is," he said.
Earlier this month, McFadden said at the annual FarmFest trade show in Redwood Falls he'd support using Chinese steel to build the proposed Keystone XL pipeline if it were cheaper than American-made steel.
Minnesota Democrats jumped on McFadden's remarks, calling him an enemy of the Iron Range.
McFadden told The Associated Press this week he would not support using any steel subsidized by China to build the pipeline, which would carry oil and other natural resources from Alberta to the Gulf Coast.
Information from: St. Cloud Times, http://www.sctimes.com