In recent decades, America’s transportation needs have changed, but—as is too common in Washington today—our transportation policies have not kept pace. The highway program, and those who used it, built highways, via a per-gallon gasoline tax paid at the pump.
Today, drivers still pay the tax, but politicians redirect portions of the highway fund for bike lanes and walking paths and public transit systems in certain cities. Meanwhile, partisan giveaways to special interests and bureaucratic skimming artificially inflate the cost of new infrastructure projects by as much as 20 percent.
The Transportation Empowerment Act will reduce the federal gas tax from 18.3 cents a gallon to 3.7 cents a gallon.
The status quo isn’t working; that’s why Congress hasn’t truly reauthorized the highway program in years. We just keep coming up with patches and bailouts.
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.
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