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Posts Tagged ‘Highway Trust Fund’

Obama Pushes Congress to Invest in Smarter Roads

President hypes vehicle-to-vehicle communications to cut crashes.

by on Jul.15, 2014

President Barack Obama talks with supporters in McLean, Virginia. During a speech there, he encouraged Congress to approve additional funding for the Highway Trust Fund, including new technology to make roads safer.

After spending much of his two terms prodding automakers to improve the mileage of vehicles as well as their operational efficacy, President Barack Obama today encouraged automakers to continue the development of “vehicle to vehicle” technology research and pushed lawmakers to fund its use.

Speaking at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Virginia, today, Obama spoke about the impact such technology could make on the safety of America’s roads. He also got a chance to get a look at the technology in person driving in a simulator that allowed him to experience the technology in real time.

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After hitting 90 mph in the simulator, he joked that anything makes the roads safer has taken on a new emphasis for him. (more…)

Americans Willing to Pay More to Fix Roads

And they’ll vote for lawmakers who boost spending, says a new study.

by on Jun.11, 2014

A suburban Detroit driver avoids a tire-chewing pothole. Photo courtesy: CNBC.

Michigan lawmakers will be scrambling over the next few days to work out a compromise meant to generate more than $1 billion to repair roads severely damaged by both a bad winter and heavy truck traffic. And the home of the domestic auto industry isn’t alone. From California to Maine, America’s roadway infrastructure has been crumbling, even as both state and federal dollars needed to fix the problem have come up short.

Perhaps it’s the jarring folks take commuting every day, never mind the cost of replacing tires and keeping suspensions aligned, but despite the nation’s generally anti-tax mindset, a new study indicates U.S. motorists are “fed up” and willing to shell out a bit of cash for road repairs.

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In fact, a majority of those surveyed by AAA said they’d be more likely to vote for a member of Congress who supports increased federal spending on transportation.

“Many of us are willing to pay a little more if it means we will have access to better roads, bridges and transit systems,” said AAA President and CEO Bob Darbelnet. “It is time for our nation’s leaders to stand with those in Congress who support improving our country’s transportation system.”


Small Businesses Push for Transportation Reform

Business leaders attend fly-in to tell Congress to fix the Highway Trust Fund now. Huge tax increases are required.

by on Jul.15, 2009

The Federal gasoline taxes you pay will likely at least double from the current 18 cents a gallon.

The Federal gasoline taxes you pay will likely at least double from the current 18 cents a gallon.

With Minnesota Democrat James Oberstar’s sweeping bill to reform Transportation policy and fix the bankrupt Highway Trust Fund apparently blocked by the Obama Administration, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pushing to renew the existing bill for six more years.

The current authorization, contained in the 2005 act known popularly as SAFETEA-LU (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users) is due to expire September 30th.

Both proposals are against the Obama Administration’s plan to ignore reforms for 18 months with a temporary injection of billions of dollars into the bankrupt Highway Trust Fund. And all pass the buck on the critical issue of how to pay for what will be a budget busting program of up to  half a trillion dollars, if you believe the projections in Oberstar’s “Surface Transportation Authorization Act Of 2009″ introduced last month.

As always, the question of policy revolves around who pays and who benefits. You will undoubtedly pay. Federal gasoline taxes will likely double, at least, from the current 18 cents a gallon because people are driving less and the vehicles they are driving are increasingly more fuel efficient.

The Oberstar bill contains important reform provisions to safeguard how the money is used by states. Current Federal transportation programs have no performance goals and there is no requirement for states, cities, and public transit agencies to develop transportation plans with specific objectives. Worse, the tax money can be diverted for other uses.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today led more than 100 business leaders, association executives, and local members from 28 states to Capitol Hill for a “Transportation is Your Business” fly-in. They delivered a message to Congress that investment in our highways, bridges, and public transportation systems must not be delayed.”

No Gas Taxes

No Gas Taxes

“The Congress and Administration need to make America’s crumbling transportation infrastructure a priority,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.


Highway Trust Fund is Insolvent

How to pay for our roads is the latest political squabble caused by a collapsed economy. It sure looks like business as usual.

by on Jun.18, 2009

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood ran into intense political opposition this week from members of Congress over his proposed fix for the Highway Trust Fund, which runs out of money this summer.

LaHood, a politician with more experience dealing with the legislative branches than with transportation issues, was confronted by Minnesota Democrat James Oberstar, who was not happy with LaHood’s proposal that would essentially continue the bankrupt status quo for 18 months beyond the end of this fiscal year on September 30th. LaHood just wants to inject billions in cash to prop up the account and keep the funding to states flowing. This, of course, pushes real policy decisions that are now required into the future. Oberstar wants sweeping changes and will introduce a bill next week.


LaHood's proposal continues the bankrupt status quo with an injection of billions in borrowed cash, and pushes politically unpopular increased taxes or spending cuts into the future.

Both were ultimately taking self-interested positions. Passing transportation legislation in Congress is a complicated process, now made more complicated as we veer toward depression that has seen the revenue raised by fuel taxes for the Highway Trust Fund plummet.

While President Obama continues with high approval ratings, deficit spending and/or tax increases to cover the rising sea of red ink in the federal budget are extremely unpopular. So LaHood, an Obama appointee, played for time by deferring into the future either cutting highway programs or increasing taxes. (more…)