BIG Federal Fight Begins Tuesday: Gas Tax Increase vs. Privatizated Tollways

Well folks, this is a surprise, and a must read.

Looks like an actual debate on Gas Tax vs. Privatized Toll Roads on a Federal level is to begin Tuesday. Who Woulda Thunk It?

According to this new article, the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission is scheduled to publish its recommendations tomorrow in support of an increase in gas tax over privatizing roads, on Tuesday, Jan. 15, leading up to committee hearings in the U.S. House and Senate. You've got to read the whole Land Line article, here is just a taste:

The 12 commissioners with varying backgrounds debated whether to recommend an increase in fuel taxes – the traditional method of maintaining a highway trust fund – or the Bush Administration’s push to privatize and/or toll more highways.

“What it came down to in the debate was whether there should be a federal role in highway and transportation funding or whether there shouldn’t be a federal role,” Mike Joyce, senior government affairs representative with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, told “Land Line Now” on XM Satellite Radio.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters chaired the commission.

Joyce said Peters did not have a stacked deck for her pro-privatization stance.

“What we are finding is that the administration was not able to hijack this commission the way that they thought they could and determine what this report was going to say,” Joyce said.

“We have heard that nine commission members sided one way, and there are three members of the commission we hear are going to offer a dissenting minority opinion, essentially on how they feel the report should have been structured,” Joyce said.

The commission majority – those that favored fuel taxes – includes Vice Chairman Jack Schenendorf, a longtime advocate of trucking issues, and Patrick Quinn, co-chairman of U.S. Xpress Enterprises.

On the dissenting side – those favoring privatization – Peters garnered support from former DOT Interim Secretary Maria Cino and another commissioner, according to Joyce.

Another article about the report in The Hill states:

A panel of public and private officials who reviewed the country’s transportation needs for the past two years wrote the long-awaited report. Congress formed the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission in the last highway bill.

Every stakeholder in the transportation industry … has been waiting for this report to come out,” said Janet Kavinoky, director of transportation infrastructure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Nothing like this has been done before,” said Rosario Palmieri, vice president for infrastructure policy at the National Association of Manufacturers.


Anonymous said...

Fuey Fuey Fuey !

"Looks like an actual debate on Gas Tax vs. Privatized Toll Roads on a Federal level is to begin Tuesday. Who Woulda Thunk It?"


This will be "facilitated" debate, you know, like the ones they have at Envision Central Texas.

Both sides will be totally controlled and will dialog to a predetermined consensus.

That is what the government does best. Put on show debates to wow we the people and make us think a true debate is happening.

I have seen too much of this garbage to be fooled by it anymore.

Somebody has to bust wide open phony meetings and phony debates and phone public input hearings.

Anonymous said...

Well, at least it seems like a breath of fresh air in stead of the "hell bent for tollroads" approach. Would be interesting to see how it will "play out" over the duration. I think fuel tax escalation is long overdue, but they need to keep the taxes funneled into the proper coffers, not the special interest crap that senators dream up.

Sal Costello said...

Dialog is dialog, even though it won't be perfect dialog.

Remember when Austin phase II toll plan was a done deal in 2004?

We forced the dialog, and peeled some of the roads from the plan.