Friday, November 25, 2005

Highway Trust Fund Running on Empty?

Took this from Rob at SayAnythingBlog

By Rob on November 25, 2005 at 12:40 pm

WASHINGTON - Taxing hybrids and other fuel-efficient cars and billing drivers for miles driven are among the approaches being suggested to avert a shortfall in money to maintain the nation’s highways.

Less than four months after President Bush signed a six-year, $286.4 billion highway and public transit act, a report commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the federal Highway Trust Fund is running out of money and Congress needs to think about new revenue sources.

“Decisions are going to have to be made in the very near future,” said Ed Mortimer, the business lobby’s director of transportation infrastructure, acknowledging it could be a tall order. The next highway bill is years away and lawmakers may be loathe to return to a measure that was widely criticized for being padded with thousands of special-interest projects.

They’re talking about a new tax to avoid a shortfall? Legislators are “loathe” to to address highway funding again? Here’s an idea: Rather than levying a new tax, how about they cut out some of the pork funding they were “widely criticized” for? In the last highway bill that passed there was funding for the now-infamous $232 million bridge to nowhere and a $1.5 million bus stop in Anchorage, among hundres of other equally ridiculous and/or over-funded projects.

Politicians will undoubtedly push for these new taxes to offset this alleged “shortfall,” and claim that if we don’t increase taxes “roads will crumble and bridges will fall.” That’s nonsense. There is plenty of money already available. The solution to this problem is not increased revenue, it is smarter expenditure of existing revenue.

Another tax would only increase the amount of money available for more pork barrel spending.

posted by David at 9:25 PM :: Permalink ::