Congress’ ‘Pathetic’ Response to Transportation

Washington Post Editorial Board: “Congress is poised to temporarily patch the country’s transportation funding system — like it has nearly three dozen times over the past several years. Each time this number ticks up it underscores Congress’s dysfunction. Privately, many members of Congress know that raising the federal gas tax is a ready and reasonable way to pay for the nation’s infrastructure. Publicly, most lawmakers are too spineless to face up to this reality. The result has been impasse after impasse as Congress has attempted to find money elsewhere — leaving the country’s investment in roads, rails and bridges on short-term and unsustainable footing.”

“The whole spectacle is, well, pathetic. A sustainable source of funding to maintain and upgrade infrastructure is a basic requirement for any modern nation. Congress had one for decades. But the 18.4 cents-per-gallon gas tax hasn’t been increased since the early 1990s, and inflation has eroded its purchasing power. Modestly hiking the tax — and indexing it to inflation this time — would prevent Congress from having to constantly look under the cushions in search of money for the transportation budget. It would also make drivers pay for the roads they use. Waiting until 2017, or even until December, won’t alter that logic.”

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