Publius / June 10, 2015

Changing Lanes on Transportation Funding

Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Ron DeSantis explain the rationale for a new way of handling the nation’s infrastructure: “The Transportation Empowerment Act will update federal transportation policy with the … proven principles [of] diversity, customization and open-sourcing that are driving innovation across our economy today. … Today, our most pressing transportation needs are local, not national. States and local governments are not only up to the job of maintaining existing highways — they’re already responsible for 75 percent of it. They are, in fact, far better positioned to lead in the next phase of infrastructure innovation. That is what our bill will finally allow them to do. The Transportation Empowerment Act will transfer much of the responsibility for transportation projects to the individual states, allowing them to decide how to best spend their transportation dollars, and ultimately cutting out the Washington middle-man. As states take the reins on their own transportation initiatives, the Transportation Empowerment Act will then reduce the federal gas tax accordingly, from 18.3 cents a gallon currently to 3.7 cents a gallon in five years. The reduced gas tax would still collect enough revenue to maintain existing inter-state highways, while leaving state and local governments free now to focus on their own intra-state infrastructure needs.” We’ll see how far the pair gets in their effort, but thinking outside the box is welcome. More…

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