Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014

trans bill

While the best-case scenario is a longer-term fix, this bill keeps jobs in place and gives Congress time to work on what the country really needs: a long-term plan to care for our roads and infrastructure.–Rep. Tom Reed

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) writes:

I voted no on #HR5021, Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014.

The bill provides a $10.8 billion bailout for the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF). It makes no structural reforms to help avoid the need for similar bailouts in the future. And the “offset” to “pay for” the spending is typical Washington: Spending for 10 months, through May 31, 2015, is “offset” with “savings” that will take 10 years to materialize and the bulk of which are budgeting gimmicks.

The bill also raids a different trust fund established for another purpose—the irony of which I hope isn’t lost on those responsible for this legislation. With over $50 billion in HTF bailouts behind us and likely over $150 billion in HTF bailouts to look forward to over the next decade, this bill is a sad embarrassment. It passed 367-55.

The bill transfers $1 billion from a trust fund established to pay for cleaning up pollution from leaking underground storage tanks. This fund runs a surplus of about $200 million a year.

Unlike Rep. Amash, Rep. Reed voted Aye. Here is how Tom Reed explains his vote:

“The bipartisan bill we voted for today will keep jobs in place and avoid construction project delays,” Reed said. “It’s important we keep local road repairs going and make sure local project contracts are able to continue – especially through these busy travel months during the summer. Making sure the Highway Trust Fund is there for generations to come is something I care about and something I’m committed to protecting.”

Unlike Rep. Amash, Tom acknowledges only the bright side–he makes no mention of funding other than this:

“While some in the House and Senate were pushing for a tax hike at the gas pump, I’m glad the House-passed fix doesn’t put more financial pressure on families. Raising the gas tax on American families trying to drive to work, pick their kids up from school or drive a parent to the doctor isn’t fair. They’re already under enough financial stress. What we voted on today takes a practical approach that doesn’t raise taxes and keeps road projects moving in the right direction.”

For Tom, a “practical approach” is to turn his blind eye to the matter of funding. Tom seems to have learned a political lesson–it is easier to vote for necessary spending than to find a way to pay for it.

© William Hungerford – September 2014

http://reed.house.gov/press-release/reed-votes-keep-construction-projects-moving

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-is-congress-paying-for-the-short-term-highway-trust-fund-fix/

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/16/us/politics/house-passes-interim-fix-for-highway-trust-fund.html

 

 

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About whungerford

* Contributor at NewNY23rd.com where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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10 Responses to Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014

  1. Anne says:

    Two things:one has to wonder why it doesn’t appear to occur to Reed to try to fix, or even address, the root problems of the “financial stress” NY 23rd families are under; and the real “sad embarrassment” is, in fact, the House GOP.

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  2. whungerford says:

    In Tom’s defense, I think it is too much for him to fix single-handedly. He does support some form of long term solution. What bugs me is is attempt to whitewash his party’s failure to act responsibly.

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  3. BOB McGILL says:

    http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2014/06/federal-highway-trust-fund-running-empty-mi
    Jun 11, 2014 … With federal highway trust fund running on empty, Minnesota transportation … He warned that the trust fund is “perilously close to being insolvent.” …. And how much money is being diverted from other needed maintenance …

    http://reason.org/files/restoring_highway_trust_fund.pdf
    but diverting much of the proceeds to still more non-highway programs, from passenger … to the states, and (2) narrowing the federal Highway Trust Fund’s focus to ….. wanted to open up the Highway Trust Fund much further, being dissatisfied.

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  4. BOB McGILL says:

    Big Gas Tax Diversions

    Williams found Highway Trust fund dollars have been spent on things such as public education, museums, parking garages, and graffiti removal. He said it is premature to increase gas taxes until Americans can be assured the money would be spent on legitimate road construction projects.

    “There’s just so much diversion of funds,” Williams said.

    Nothing has changed since Williams’s study. Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute, raised similar concerns in testimony in May to the Senate Finance Committee.

    “There is no reason to raise the federal gas tax,” Edwards said. “You send the money to Washington, a lot of it gets lost in paperwork and bureaucracy and pork-barrel politics.”

    25 Percent for ‘Non-Highway Purposes’

    In his testimony, Edwards noted, since the 1970s, “fuel taxes have been siphoned off for non-highway purposes, particularly with the creation of the transit program in 1982. About one-quarter of HTF spending today is for non-highway purposes.”

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  5. Deb Meeker says:

    I believe Reed is happy to seem like he supports any jobs at this point, since in his four year tenure, he has voted against job creation bills. It’s an election year, as we all know.
    Robbing a clean up fund to seem like he is all for progress, leaves me with no doubt; Reed’s priorities are not what the NY 23rd district can recover and grow on.
    Perhaps he thinks these road projects are necessary for the eventual transportation of gas, oil, and fracking fluids through New York. After all, that is his true priority.

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  6. BOB McGILL says:

    in case you haven’t noticed, oil, gas and fracking fluids are already being transported on New York’s roads. Clean up of leaky underground storage tanks is paid for by the property owners in most cases, so that part is total BS.

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  7. solodm says:

    So you agree with Tom Reed that property owners should pay for the toxins corporate businesses create as the corporations walk away free from responsibility?

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  8. Pingback: Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014 (sequel) | New NY 23rd

  9. BOB McGILL says:

    tell us of a corporation that was allowed to ” just walk away ” . 🙂
    http://www.ny-brownfields.com/prtg4058c.html‎Cached
    1996 CLEAN WATER / CLEAN AIR BOND ACT … 7.2.3 Bonding/Insurance …
    These procedures are consistent with those which will be required under the
    State …

    Like

  10. BOB McGILL says:

    http://www.townofsoutheast-ny.com/…/ Southeast%20MS4%20Permit%20Application%20Directions_12051…‎Cached
    Dec 5, 2012 … In accordance with the requirements of the NYSDEC (New York State … Account
    and Performance Bond, the applicant must prove that the …

    Like

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