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.
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