Summary: This brief argues there is no crumbling infrastructure problem and even if there were, increasing the federal HTF would not solve it.
Released: Filed Under: Stoa Policy
About "Highway Trust Fund / Gas Tax (NEG)"
The Affirmative plan will increase the federal tax on gasoline and diesel fuel to replenish the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which is said to be dangerously underfunded, leading to crumbling infrastructure and its consequences. This brief argues there is no crumbling infrastructure problem and even if there were, increasing the federal HTF would not solve it.
First, the HTF is not “underfunded.” Any fool knows that if you put $1 into your piggy bank and then try to take $2 out, it won’t work. Except Congress, which goes on voting year after year to spend more on highway funding than is in the HTF and then wondering why the HTF has a “shortfall.”
Second, there is no crumbling infrastructure. Roads are in better shape than they’ve ever been and we need to stop listening to folks like the American Society of Civil Engineers who say otherwise. Guess who would be hired to work on construction projects if Congress ever buys into the “crumbling infrastructure” meme? Right, the ASCE.
Finally, even if there is a shortfall and even if there were crumbling infrastructure, the status quo can solve. The States have their own gas taxes and general revenues. Any State that thinks its highways are in poor shape can fix it tomorrow, or any time they like. There’s nothing crying out for federal solutions, and federal intervention only makes things worse.
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