Big Dollars for Transportation

Our Communications Director, Dan Holler, has a new column this week discussing the flaws with the current transportation bills in the House and the Senate. First, he reveals how last year’s Ryan budget would have seriously reformed the way our transportation dollars are spent:

“The Ryan Budget ‘anticipate[d] that Congress can keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent without additional general fund transfers or increases in the gasoline tax by consolidating dozens of separate highway programs that GAO has identified as duplicative.’”

Unfortunately, this “solvency through reform, not revenue” principle is not what the current transportation bills adhere to:

“Unfortunately, the current transportation bill walks away from the core principle outlined last year by the Ryan budget; instead, the $260 billion proposal would lump additional funding on top of much needed reforms.

“Perhaps even more disconcerting is that the move comes on the heels of a large jump in federal gas tax revenues. Last year, the 18.4 cent per gallon federal gas tax brought in $29 billion. This year, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts revenues will reach $36 billion. They explain that most of the 24% increase in revenue “is attributable to the expiration of tax credits for ethanol-blended fuels” and revenues would grow slowly in the years to come.

“Over the next five years, the federal government would collect $187 billion in gas tax revenue. That pales in comparison to the new obligations put forth by the House transportation bill. The annual gap of more than $14 billion is in spite of all the proposed reforms.”

The transportation bill is going to be a true test of conservatism for Congress. Unfortunately, because Members of Congress think that the American people are not tuned in, a massive $260 billion transportation bill can move through the process. Heritage Action, of course, is paying attention.

Read the full article here.

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