The White House has begun to release details of President Barack Obama’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2017. Most interesting so far is the announcement that the President will propose a new $10 fee on each barrel of oil. With oil selling at roughly $30 a barrel, this would amount to a one-third increase in the cost of oil.
The projected $32 billion a year in new revenue would be used to fund “green” transit: $20 billion for mass transit, including high-speed rail and magnetic levitation; $10 billion for streamlining local and state transit planning, a Climate Smart Fund to give bonuses to States that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, and three new grant programs for “livable” cities, climate-resilient infrastructure, and regional-wide transit projects; and $2 billion for research into “clean” transportation.
There is no chance that the 114th Congress will enact this new $32 billion tax plus green slush fund, so it’s not clear why the President doesn’t follow his tried and true practice and just impose it by executive order. I doubt that many Democrats in Congress who are running for re-election in 2016 will support it.