January 18, 2008

Transportation funding in the spotlight...

Raising the gax tax is the answer to the transportation funding crisis? Color me surprised...From the DMN

A federal commission created by Congress called for big increases to the federal gas tax on Tuesday as part of a sweeping overhaul of how America builds and pays for its highways, bridges and transit systems.

The proposal for a 40-cent increase over five years touched off a stormy debate in Washington that is expected to last until at least 2009, when legislation governing scores of transportation programs expires and must be rewritten.

Gee whiz! Who would have thought that increasing the gas tax was a better idea than tolling? Oh, that's right. We've been through this, haven't we?

39% is VERY upset about all this, as is Empower Texas, which is little more than a poor man's Cato Institute. Here's 39%'s take...

“Raising taxes is seldom the right answer and sending more of Texans’ money to Washington, D.C. only to have it earmarked, redistributed to other states or locked into outmoded bureaucratic programs will do very little if anything to relieve congestion on Texas roads,” said Gov. Perry.

Uhm... Governor... for YEARS the Republicans from Texas in Congress let Texas get shortchanged on federal funding for roads. This is what is particularly sad about 39%. He's so stuck on his ideological bent and his need to funnel taxpayer money to his campaign contributors that even when a MOSTLY REPUBLICAN body thinks raising the gas tax is a good idea, he just can't accept it. Yeah, the group that issued the report was appointed by the Republican Congress in 2005 and was heavy with them...

Congress in 2005 created the — deep breath — National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Commission to help it understand what to do about the increasing financial starvation of the nation’s transportation system.

Congress in 2005, you’ll remember, was still controlled by Republicans, so the commission was hardly a nest of fuzzy-headed Demotaxers, right? Well, the commission put out its long-awaited study Tuesday. Its solution for the money shortage: raise more money. The board recommended basically a tripling of the 18.4 cents-a-gallon federal gas tax over the next five years, and suggested that states consider raising their gas taxes as well

One of the members of the commission, one of the ones who agreed that raising the gas tax was the best idea, was Paul Weyrich. He's one of the founders of the Heritage Foundation and has much better conservative credentials than 39%. At least Weyrich doesn't believe in crony capitalism.

Let's not forget that Perry's brill idea was to build massive tollways in the middle of nowhere, spending hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, rather that using our existing right of way. Nice work, 39%. Just a like a good Republican, you've managed to find the most expensive, least effective solution and you've done it in such a way that your cronies can benefit. Marvelous.

We've been a little behind on this for the last couple of days, but we're catching up. Eye on Williamson, Sal Costello, TTC and Dig Deeper Texas all have great articles up about this.

So now we have a Federal commission, chock full of conservative Republicans AND a bunch of Aggies at the TTI telling us raising the gas tax is the best way to fund transportation? What more do you want, 39%? For Jesus himself to come tell you that raising the damn tax is the right thing to do?

Posted by mcblogger at January 18, 2008 11:43 AM

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