Road Dollars should fund Roads not footpaths

When it comes time to debate every new highway bill, legislators’ note that  funding for the nation’s roads and highways has not kept pace with the need for new construction and basic maintenance.  Existing roads are pockmarked with a growing number of potholes and bridges are crumbling when they aren’t already collapsing.  Despite this fact, in recent years an increasing percentage of the gas taxes paid into the Highway (supposed) Trust Fund has been diverted to other uses, both transit (mass transit, bike paths, etc.) and non-transit (libraries, parks, etc.) related.

My colleagues at the NCPA Brian Bodine and Pam Villarreal wrote about this policy hypocrisy in December and Heidi Sommer and I had previously written about it in 2007.

An amendment from Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) would effectively kill one example of this foolishness: California’s high-speed rail program by prohibiting the use of any federal funds in the transportation bill on the project. Denham successful amendment would allow the state to spend more to repair its crumbling highways.

As Denham put it, “Highway bill money should be used on highways.” What could be any clearer (and correct) than that.

Earlier Republicans successfully defeated Democratic attempts to restore mandatory carve-outs for alternative transportation – bike trails and pedestrian paths among others.

Could it be that on this issue at least, sanity is finally being restored.  Sadly, the Senate still seems intent on stealing from Peter to pay Paul.

My thoughts: most pedestrian paths are called sidewalks and they are local and can be funded by the cities that desire them; and if bike riders want their own lanes, let them pay for it with a self-imposed tax on bicycles and bicycle accessories – drivers pay for roads with gas taxes and license fees, they shouldn’t have to subsidize other users


Comments (4)

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  1. Another “trust fund” misused by the politicians in Washington. I am completely in favor of limiting the use of taxes raised for highway maintenance to being spent only on highways.

  2. Patty says:

    Another ridiculous carve out is constructing billions of dollars in “noise barrier walls.” This is simply using PUBLIC funds to make a few property owners real estate worth more, and I find it unacceptable. I suggest a moratorium on federal funding for noise barrier wall studies & construction.

  3. J.D..Brannan says:

    You will never be able to stop the wasteful spending of $millions if the the cause is not addressed at the root level. Here in SC the waste starts at the County level with the ‘non-profit’ environmental & consevation lobby having the majority input and influence on policy from the County Council decisions to our State Senate subcommittees decisions on how monies should be allocated, all without knowledge or input from taxpayers who are out working to pay those tax dollars. “Green-ways” and “Blueways” are the catch phrases. “Environmentalism” and “Consevation” education in our school system absorb $millons from the school budget and precious class time to imprint and indoctrinate impressionable minds into the “science” of Global Warming without any debate allowed, encourageing and empowering the lobby to an even greater extent. My County of Spatanburg is a mico-cosm of how the far left “eco-lobby”, through it’s ‘non-profit’ organizations, has taken control of our politicians and policy. I continue to try to enlist just one journalist to ‘follow-the-trail'(so to speak) and document how these organizations empower themselves and bypass the peoples will to spend our money on THEIR agendas.

  4. Ray says:

    As a cyclist, I too should be entitled to use the roads as well. I still pay taxes when I fill up and pay taxes for everything else that other drivers do. I am not saying an independent pathway but when roads are built, they should include bike lanes and signage reminding drivers that other people on the road come in other forms than just cars.

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