Republicans’ Next Cave-In

Shortly before adjourning for the August recess, the Senate Transportation Committee passed a bill authorizing spending on transportation and  infrastructure.


The $287 billion bill creates new programs for climate change. These programs could cost as much as $10 billion. Among the climate measures are grants for infrastructure projects designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reward state and local governments that have taken action to reduce emissions. The bill also provides funding for electric car stations.


The fact that Republicans on the Committee unanimously supported this bill is the latest sign that the GOP is moving toward embracing the “green” agenda, complete with cap-and-tax or some other form of tax. Since this transportation bill needs to be “paid for,” we could see an effort to attach a cap-and-tax scheme to it when it comes to the Senate floor. There may also be an attempt to increase the gas tax.


Here is a letter Campaign for Liberty co-signed earlier this year opposing an increase in the gas tax:


Dear Members of Congress:


On behalf of our organizations and the millions of American individuals, families, and business owners they represent, we urge you to focus on comprehensive reforms to prioritize, streamline and innovate the financing and regulation of our nation’s infrastructure projects rather than considering any increases to the federal gas tax.


As part of any potential infrastructure package, Congress has an opportunity this year to institute major reforms to our federal funding and regulatory systems. Reforms are badly needed to improve outcomes, target spending toward critical projects, and streamline much needed maintenance and construction projects. The goal this year should be a more modern and efficient national infrastructure system that will allow people and goods to move where they need to both safely and economically, contributing to an effective and well-functioning system of free enterprise.


A 25-cent per gallon increase in the federal gas tax, a current proposal from some on and off Capitol Hill, would more than double the current rate and would amount to an estimated $394 billion tax increase over the next ten years.


Before asking Americans for more of their hard earned money at the gas pump, lawmakers must consider how federal gas tax dollars are currently mishandled. More than 28 percent of funds from the Highway Trust Fund are currently diverted away from roads and bridges. Still more taxpayer dollars are wasted on inflated costs due to outdated regulatory burdens, a complex and sluggish permitting system, and overly restrictive labor requirements.


These reforms can be achieved by focusing on three core outcomes: 1) spending smarter on projects of true national priority, 2) reforming outdated and costly regulations, and 3) protecting Americans from new or increased tax burdens.


We urge lawmakers to reject calls to simply throw more money into a broken funding system. Now is the time to take serious steps toward modernizing our nation’s infrastructure by eliminating unnecessary spending, reducing government overreach and unleashing untapped private sector investment. Our organizations stand ready to work with lawmakers who will fight for these important reforms to deliver better results to the American people without asking them to pay more.


Thank you for your consideration.


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