Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Bill in Congress to Cut the Federal Gas Tax and Go Local

Let America Fix the Highways Washington Broke

The link takes you to a Daily Signal commentary by Senator Mike Lee and Congressman Ron DeSantis.  They suggest that states know best how to handle their internal highway maintenance.  What a radical concept.

The Transportation Empowerment Act will update federal transportation policy with the same proven principles—diversity, customization and open-sourcing—that are driving innovation across our economy today.
In recent decades, America’s transportation needs have changed, but—as is too common in Washington today—our transportation policies have not kept pace. The highway program, and those who used it, built highways, via a per-gallon gasoline tax paid at the pump.

Today, drivers still pay the tax, but politicians redirect portions of the highway fund for bike lanes and walking paths and public transit systems in certain cities. Meanwhile, partisan giveaways to special interests and bureaucratic skimming artificially inflate the cost of new infrastructure projects by as much as 20 percent.
 "Bureaucratic skimming" doesn't necessarily mean anything unethically.  It's the layers of government that money has to go through to get where it is needed.  I often think of it in terms of a sponge.  The thicker the sponge, the more water it soaks up.  More government means more government employees to provide with salaries and benefits which in turn leads to further expansion of the bureaucratic fiefdoms.  If an agency spends all of its allocated funds in one fiscal year, it can usually count on getting increased funds in the following fiscal year.  The only thing that is ever "cut" is the percentage of increase.  This is true of Republican administrations as well as Democrat ones.  (/rant). 

Today, our most pressing transportation needs are local, not national. States and local governments are not only up to the job of maintaining existing highways—they’re already responsible for 75 percent of it. They are, in fact, far better positioned to lead in the next phase of infrastructure innovation. That is what our bill will finally allow them to do. 
This would be something I could support.  I'm sure there will be kicking and screaming from both sides of the aisle as pet pork projects go back to state control.  It isn't going to solve all the myriad of problems we have because of government, but it is a step in the right direction.  


  1. This is indeed a step in the right direction. Anything that cuts out the
    not-so-wise guys of the Fedpranos family is a good thing, IMO.
    It's easier to hold state officials to account than it is the Fedpranos.

    There may be some disparity, as far as states are concerned in how the money gets spent.
    For example, I expect Texas will spend the money where it is needed most while California will probably find a way to waste it on high-speed rail or something equally as stupid.
    But perhaps that would convince voters in CA. to stop electing democrats.
    Well, one can only hope, anyway.

  2. "Fedpranos" -- that is artful.

  3. Great idea. We'll see how far it gets through Congress.