There has been discussion about a federal “fix” to the nation’s transportation infrastructure. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) along with Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) have proposed an increase in the federal gasoline tax to fund the Federal Highway Trust Fund.
National Review disagrees with the move calling it bad policy and bad politics:
Corker’s idea is bad policy and bad politics. The politics: Gas prices are rising rapidly, taxes on fuel are regressive, and Americans, rightly, really don’t like when you raise any kind of tax at all.
There’s no pressing policy reason to increase the tax. The trust fund has plenty of money to fund highway priorities that the federal government needs to address — especially if federal money were spent more efficiently. But the fund is running dry because, instead, Congress has repeatedly lavished spending on non-highway priorities and on intrastate issues. Drivers across America shouldn’t have to pay for projects that House appropriators like, but that’s the way the trust fund works now. Corker is proposing to let this continue.
They highlight a piece of legislation, the Transportation Empowerment Act, being promoted by both Congressman Tom Graves (R-GA-14) and Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) to cut the federal gasoline tax and have states make the decisions on infrastructure projects themselves rather than the federal government.
Congressman Graves gives an explanation of the bill in an email his office sent out in a district update:
The plan cuts out Washington’s politics and red tape, which means roads would be constructed more quickly and at a lower cost to taxpayers.
My office estimates that Georgia would’ve saved $185 million this year under my plan.
Above all, I believe this policy battle has a very real impact on your life.
Think about it this way: if we had new and better roads, how much shorter would your commute be?
How much more time could you spend with your family?
Would you be connected to new job opportunities or more affordable housing?
Better roads would mean a better life for a lot people. I think we can get there by taking power from Washington and transferring it back to the states.