Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio), vice chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies, essentially told a bunch of transit lobbyists yesterday that he’d be willing to kowtow to whatever demands they made of him. As reported by Streetsblog:
“You’ve got to get in people’s faces,” [LaTourette] told [American Public Transportation Association] participants. “You’ve got to go in and ask for something” — even of the “knuckledraggers that came in in the last election that hate taxes.” He said it’s only fair that people pay for the transportation infrastructure they use.
While the tax-loving congressman appears concerned about the financial health of the Highway Trust Fund (its insolvency which is largely the result of the theft of highway-user revenue — mostly generated by federal excise taxes on gasoline and diesel — that is used to fund transit and other non-highway projects), he certainly didn’t propose abolishing the Trust Fund’s Mass Transit Account, which is responsible for most of the highway-user robbery. Will LaTourette go on record as opposing future Highway Trust Fund revenue diversions to transit? Will he propose funding a reauthorization of NASA’s recently killed back-to-the-moon Constellation program out of the Mass Transit Account? So much remains to be seen.