Sunday, December 5, 2010

US deficit commission calls for 15 cent gas tax increase. APTA applauds

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform issued its "Moment of Truth" proposal this past week, urging cuts and caps in discretionary spending (good even though wholy inadequate), "reforms" to welfare entitlements (sidestepping the real problems), and tax increases (very bad) to avert the US government from "go[ing] broke."

On page 24, the proposal includes:
RECOMMENDATION 1.7: FULLY FUND THE TRANSPORTATION TRUST FUND INSTEAD OF RELYING ON DEFICIT SPENDING. Dedicate a 15-cent per gallon increase in the gas tax to transportation funding, and limit spending if necessary to match the revenues the trust fund collects each year.
Increasing the federal gas tax by 15 cents, of course, will have a profound impact of the nation's weak economy, notwithstanding the commission's claim to recognize its perilous state in its recommendation-making.

The American Public Transportation Association full-throatedly cheers on this further attack on the motoring public with teh usual Keynesian claptrap:
APTA strongly supports the proposal to phase-in a 15 cent federal motor fuels tax increase.  Adequate investment in the nation’s integrated transportation system, at the state, local, and federal level, is the underpinning for the nation’s future economic growth. Failure to restore the declining purchasing power of the federal user fee that helps to address the nation’s basic infrastructure needs is likely to undermine economic recovery and result in either more deficit spending to fund essential investments or defer necessary preservation and improvements that will only impose greater costs on future generations.
But our statist adversaries at the APTA should read the fine print of the commission's proposal (page 24):
Before asking taxpayers to pay more for roads, rail, bridges, and infrastructure, we must ensure existing funds are not wasted. The Commission recommends significant reforms to control federal highway spending. Congress should limit trust fund spending to the most pressing infrastructure needs rather than forcing states to fund low-priority projects. It should also end the practice of highway authorization earmarks such as the infamous Bridge to Nowhere.
One can imagine that the commission members would include Trains to Nowhere in this admonition.

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