Continuing the National Transportation Debate
Directly related to yesterday’s Crossroads post about the proposed Surface Transportation Authorization Act (STAA), The Minnesota Star-Tribune published an editorial that addresses the core of the disagreement between Rep. Jim Oberstar, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Obama Administration regarding the authorization of the bill. Not surprisingly, the reason cited for the tension was lack of funding. Current federal transportation funding relies heavily on the Highway Trust Fund, which comes from gas tax revenue. The fund is in danger of running dry, because gas prices and climate concerns have translated into less driving and the purchasing of fuel-efficient vehicles. Chairman Oberstar has attached a $450 billion figure to the new bill – surely, a hefty sum, but one that accurately represents the challenges that lay ahead with bringing the nation’s transportation system up to date. Two possible solutions for increasing funding – a gas tax raise and the imposition of a vehicle miles tax – have been viewed unfavorably by both the White House and the general public. Given such roadblocks (no pun intended), any movement towards a resolution has stalled, at least for now. It remains to be seen how this debate will culminate.
E-mail us your thoughts on this debate and the worries over funding at firstname.lastname@example.org.