Let's abolish the Highway Trust Fund
I was reading an article describing how Democrats are moaning because they want to raise the gasoline tax to put more money into the Highway Trust Fund, and I thought, "I have a better idea: let's abolish the Highway Trust Fund entirely!"
Highways and roads go across the country, but in doing so, they also go through states. Let's allow states to take over spending on roads and highways. You probably think from the media portrayal that all highway construction is paid for by the federal government. But did you know that states spend more than twice what the federal government does on maintaining roads and highways? Why not turn over interstate highways to the states they run through, and let the states decide what to spend money on? If two adjacent states want to cooperate and improve a highway that runs between them, let them! If they don't, then they don't!
I was suspicious of the very name "Highway Trust Fund," and it turns out my suspicions were right. At least 25% of the money spent on the "Highway Trust Fund" never goes near a highway, being spent instead on sidewalks (yes, sidewalks!), bike paths, and even "scenic trails." A big chunk of it also goes to local mass transit. That's a purely local function, but it's being funded on the federal level. What does the NYC subway system have to do with a national highway trust fund?
Additionally, $41 billion of HTF funding is not being "adequately tracked." Can you imagine how much of that is being wasted, or stolen?
The federal gas tax alone is 18 cents per gallon. If we abolished the HTF, we could eliminate that tax. Imagine paying 18 cents a gallon less for gas. It would not just make traveling cheaper; it would make everything cheaper. Food, which is produced by tractors and transported by trucks, would become cheaper. Anything manufactured using natural gas becomes cheaper, too. Imagine how much more affordable life could be to the middle class and poor with lower energy prices, and imagine how many more jobs businesses could create with the extra money they saved.
Alternatively, instead of eliminating the gas tax, we could use the revenue to reduce the deficit. We have 18 trillion dollars of debt and an estimated 200 trillion dollars in unfunded obligations. I'll bet if we stopped building highways for a few years on the federal level and let the states spend their own money on essential roadways, the country would manage to survive. Why not spend those billions to start to pay down the deficit?
If we can't cut nonessential transportation funding, what can we cut? Apparently, nothing.
This article was produced by NewsMachete.com, the conservative news site.