Share

Opinion: Morning Examiner

Will spending more tax dollars on new roads or bike lanes make commuting easier?

By |
Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Transportation,Mark Tapscott,Morning Examiner,Subsidies,Infrastructure,Mass Transit,Subways

Traffic getting worse during commuter hours? Potholes from last winter still not filled? Don't understand why bike lanes are suddenly so important?

More than 90 percent of Americans depend upon their personal cars and trucks to get to and from work every day. But many government officials at all levels seem determined to make life miserable for drivers.

They won't say it in those words, but that is what many public officials, including especially the bureaucrats who run zoning, transportation and economic development agency, intend to be the result of their policies.

Go where we say when we say

Why? So commuters will leave their cars at home and take mass transit instead. That justifies bigger budgets and staffs for the bureaucrats.

This is the ugly secret at the heart of federal transportation policy. It's why one of every four tax dollars collected for the Highway Trust Fund is actually spent, according to the Heritage Foundation, on "subways, streetcars, buses, bicycle and nature paths, and landscaping."

Bureaucrats love mass transit because mass transit goes where they want it to go when they want it to go there. Bureaucrats hate private cars and trucks because drivers decide where to go instead of bureaucrats. Government control versus individual freedom.

How about spending highway funds on highways?

The Highway Trust Fund is projected to face a $58 billion deficit over the next four years, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Increasing the federal gas tax, and maybe even imposing added per-mile commuter taxes, are the favored "solutions" among liberal Democrats and "smart growth" advocates in the bureaucracy.

The better alternative from the perspective of the 90+ percent of Americans who travel in private cars and trucks is to stop spending one of every four tax dollars on mass transit and start spending those dollars instead on fixing existing highways and bridges, and building desperately needed new ones.

Transportation Empowerment Act

Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Marco Rubio, R-Flor., Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., are co-sponsoring the Transportation Empowerment Act, which would do just that.

It would also give state and local officials greater freedom to spend highway funds on the most urgently needed road projects instead of subways, buses and bike lanes.

That makes sense in an America in which only two to three percent of all trips made by Americans are made on mass transit. And contrary to the American Public Transportation Association, it's been that way for decades.

Think about it: Which will make morning and evening commutes easier and safer, spending highway trust funds on more and better roads, or more bike lanes?

On today's washingtonexaminer.com

Editorial: This August, House Republicans should "Occupy the Capitol."

Columnists/Sean Higgins: Will the NLRB supersize Big Labor's fast-food industry push?

Columnists/Gene Healy: Conservatives would do well to resurrect President Reagan's Middle East policy.

Columnists/Byron York: Are Republicans repeating their mistakes of 1998?

Columnists/Cal Thomas: Is Lois Lowry's "The Giver" a portent of what might be?

Beltway Confidential Dialogue/Philip Klein: Stephen Moore on why some states succeed while others fail.

Beltway Confidential/Chuck Hoskinson: What Qatar didn't tell Nancy Pelosi about the "humanitarian organization" Hamas.

PennAve/Susan Ferrechio: Eight things in the VA reform bill.

Legal Newsline/Heather Gvillo: Decision in Legal Newsline case will bring much-needed transparency to asbestos, other mass-tort litigation.

Video/Morning Examiner: Morning Examiner with Steve Doty for July 29.

In other news

ABC News: U.S. says Russia cruise missile test violated 1987 INF Treaty.

USA Today: Obama phone calls show urgency of world crises.

CNN: Netanyahu warns Israel is prepared for "protracted conflict."

Righty Playbook

The American Thinker: Not surprising that most Hispanics favor deportation.

The American Conservative: James Madison, Cheney style.

The American Spectator: Obamacare was designed to punish uncooperative states.

Bonus must-read

The Federalist: Halbig shows how we legislate now.

Lefty Playbook

The Nation: A bill to get the labor movement back on the offensive.

The New Republic: Another clue the Obamacare lawsuits are wrong.

The American Prospect: Yes, liberalism will survive the Obama presidency.

Bonus must-read

Mother Jones: America's 10 most-hated banks.

Blog Right

Hit & Run: One Sudafed over the line.

Yid With Lid: Who is the real "imperialist tool" in the Middle East?

The Gateway Pundit: ISIS terrorist slaughter hundreds of Shiites in Iraq massacre.

Blog Left

Talking Points Memo: Obama mulls massive move on immigration.

Americablog: Obama leasing millions of Gulf acres for oil and gas drilling.

The Common Ills: An Iraq snapshot.

View article comments Leave a comment

More from washingtonexaminer.com