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Congressional proposal would eliminate federal transportation funding

By |  November 18, 2013

Two U.S. Congressmen filed a bill dubbed the Transportation Empowerment Act (TEA) that would gradually eliminate federal funding for transportation projects.

According to The Hill, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) filed TEA, which would lower the gas tax in five years from 18.4 cents per gallon to 3.7 cents. Authority over federal highways and transit programs would be transferred to states over this period. Block grants would replace congressional appropriations.

“States and cities could plan, finance and build better-designed and more affordable projects,” Lee says. “Local communities 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.”

“For the country as a whole, our plan would mean a better infrastructure system, new jobs and opportunities, diverse localism, and innovative environmental protection,” he continued.

According to Graves, the bill has generated 19 co-sponsors in the House.

In another bill – one Senate Democrats filed – Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) propose creating a national infrastructure-funding bank. According to The Hill, the bill dubbed the Development and Growth in Employment (BRIDGE) Act would create an infrastructure financing authority that would receive $10 billion in initial funding. The funds would be used as to lure private-sector investments.

“The BRIDGE Act is not a silver bullet to magically close America’s infrastructure gap, but this bipartisan proposal creates smart new tools to help our states and localities unlock billions of dollars in additional private investments at a time of very favorable interest rates,” Warner says.

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