Tag Archives: Highway Trust Fund
The Highway Trust Fund is supposed to be a dedicated fund to highways only, but with the continued diversion of road funds for non-road purposes and Congress’ penchant for raiding other parts of the federal budget to shore-up the trust fund, even passage of this 5-year alleged highway bill leaves little to celebrate for either taxpayers or transportation special interests. With so many goodies and discretionary programs, it was hard for members of Congress to resist approving the bill, despite the lack of sustainable funding or the albatross of the Ex-Im Bank. But Republicans in particular face a backlash for support of the bill after failing to live up to its promises for reform and ending the crony capitalist stranglehold on Washington D.C. Continue reading
So, with this bureaucratic interference, there must be some other agenda at play if the government is willfully steering road taxes from efficient road capacity improvements to inefficient non-road uses. Some call it ‘new urbanism,’ others call it ‘sustainable development’ or ‘Smart Growth,’ but the blueprint that spawned it all was the United Nations Agenda 21 program. Agenda 21’s stated goal is to change people’s behavior through restrictions in land use, by herding people into dense inner-city housing, and restricting mobility to force Americans out of their cars and into government-controlled mass transit systems. It’s an assault on our freedom to travel and individual liberty. Continue reading
Something smells fishy when two Democrats gleefully stand in front of a photo of Ronald Reagan to invoke a 15 cent per gallon hike in the federal gasoline tax (currently at 18.4 cents a gallon). The bill, HR 3636, was introduced last year by Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer, but it apparently hasn’t gotten much traction. So he and other supporters, Sen. Tom Carper (D- Delaware) and Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wisconsin, whose term is up in January) held a press conference to bring attention to the proposal – this time using Reagan for political cover. Blumenauer filed the bill last year on the exact date – December 3, 2013 and held a press conference, this time with Reagan ‘behind’ him, pushing the tax hike again on December 3, 2014.
It is bewildering that so many on the right, particularly normally fiscally prudent libertarians, continue to advocate for toll roads. In fact, some are even criticizing conservatives who oppose them. Terri Hall, founder of the group TURF (Texans United for Reform and Freedom), found herself under fire by a libertarian magazine in August. Reason’s Robert Poole wrote an article labeling Hall and those who oppose toll roads as “right-wing populists.” He was worried that Hall has been effective ginning up opposition to toll roads, both in her home state of Texas as well as influencing a prominent article that recently ran in The Weekly Standard.
One of the more significant budget and policy issues facing Congress and the Administration in the coming months will be how to continue to pay for the Nation’s most important transportation infrastructure, including its major highways, bridges and transit systems. The issue is coming to a head next year when the current surface transportation law, MAP-21, expires on September 30, 2014.
Texans from across the state recently converged at the capitol in Austin to stress the need for Texas Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, Speaker Joe Straus, and House and Senate budget writers to prevent the most fiscally sound, long-term road funding solutions from being held hostage to more tolls, debt, and tax hikes.