Highway Bill Bailout and Spending Schemes Put America’s Roads and Bridges at Risk

Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) released a new report criticizing spending and bail-out schemes Congress is considering that would put our nation’s roads and bridges at risk.

With the federal highway bill set to expire at the end of July and the highway fund itself projected to run multi-billion dollar deficits in the years ahead, the report by CEI transportation policy expert Marc Scribner warns against ill-considered plans to increase the regressive federal fuel tax or else shift the highway cost burden away from people who actually use the roadways. Instead, Scribner urges a set of practical, achievable reforms that give states more flexibility in using tolls, user fees, and bonds to pay for roads and bridges.

“The Obama administration has endorsed some common sense reforms to transportation policy that include lifting caps on user fees and bonds,” said Scribner. “Now it’s time for Congress to start thinking outside the box and looking to realistic and fair ways to solve the nation’s transportation problems, rather than just patching holes in the status quo.”

Scribner also urges lawmakers to take a hard look at funds siphoned off for spending on mass transit. Nearly a quarter of federal surface transportation funding is currently being spent on mass transit, while transit use accounts for less than 2 percent of trips nationwide.

Specific reforms in the report include:

  • Repealing the federal prohibition on state tolling for Interstate roads;
  • Uncapping private activity bonds;
  • Allowing more flexibility in state mileage-based user fee pilot programs;
  • Closely examining the cost-effectiveness and spending priorities associated with mass transit spending.

> View Marc Scribner’s report: Reimaging Surface Transportation Reauthorization; Pro-Market Recommendations for Policy Makers

> Related: Reimagining Surface Transportation Reauthorization: Pro-Market Recommendations for Policy Makers