WASHINGTON, D.C. – Wednesday, Sen. Mike Lee released the following statement on the president’s transportation proposal:
Today, the president has offered the country the same old idea: send more money to Washington where the special interests get their cut, the politicians get the credit, and future generations get the bill. Unfortunately, his proposal is more about preserving a dysfunctional system than improving our roads. It’s a top-down, DC-knows-best approach to do to our transportation infrastructure what Obamacare has done to our health care.
Conservatives have a fresh approach that will save money, reduce commuting times, grow the economy and create jobs, and allow state and local officials, who are ultimately responsible for infrastructure projects, to respond more quickly to the transportation needs of each state.
The Transportation Empowerment Act creates a new system where Americans would no longer have to send significant gas-tax revenue to Washington, where politicians, bureaucrats, and lobbyists siphon off precious resources before sending it back to the states with strings attached. Instead, under this proposal, states and cities could plan, finance, and build better-designed and more affordable projects.
Some communities could choose to build more roads, while others might prefer to repair old ones. Some might build highways, others light-rail. And all would be free to experiment with innovative green technologies, and new ways to finance their projects, like congestion pricing and smart tolls.
All states and localities should finally have the flexibility to develop the kind of transportation system they want, for less money, without politicians and special interests from other parts of the country telling them how, when, what, and where they should build.
Transportation Empowerment Act
How it Works
- Transfers almost all authority over federal highway and transit programs to the states over a five-year period
- Lowers the federal gas tax to 3.7 cents from 18.4 cents over the same time period
- During the five-year phase out, states will receive block grants that come with vastly fewer federal strings attached
What It Does
- Immediately reduces the bureaucratic burden involved in the construction of critical transportation projects
- Results in a faster administrative response to the transportation problems Americans face, such as traffic, commuting, and access
- Gives states greater flexibility in their tax structure
- Connects where people want to work with where they want to live
- Opens opportunities to develop new mass-transit solutions, innovate environmental protections, and improve the financing of projects
- Creates jobs and grows the economy
Why The Current System Hurts The Commute
- When the costs of federal red tape and Highway Trust Fund redistribution are taken into account, 37 states, including Georgia and Utah, have a rate of return below 100 percent; for example, Georgia’s estimated buying power in Fiscal Year 2014 is anticipated to be approximately 84 percent based on the most recent Highway Trust Fund payment information available, costing Georgia taxpayers $185 million.
- For Fiscal Year 2014, $820 million was authorized nationwide for so-called “transportation alternatives” described by the Federal Highway Administration as “landscaping and scenic enhancement” and “recreational enhancement,” among others
Submitted by the offices of Sen. Mike Lee
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