Yes. I know the price of gas is really high right now. I drove to Dallas yesterday and it was over 3 bucks a gallon to fill the tank. I DO drive a hybrid so I get great gas mileage, but I also think if there was mass transit out this way, I would have taken a train! Anyway, the federal government tried to raise the gas tax a couple of years ago and Bush threatened to veto it. Now, there's an issue that the Federal Highway Trust Fund won't have enough money (because not enough gas tax money) to fund federal dollars on highways.
A cash crunch is fast approaching for the government trust fund that pays to build and repair highways and bridges.
The federal tax on a gallon of gas has not risen in 14 years and Congress is reluctant to increase it. People are demanding more fuel-efficient vehicles — less gasoline used, fewer dollars for the fund.
States already are looking for other places for road-building money — toll road and consumption-based sales taxes, for example. They worry that the fund's looming shortage could hurt their efforts to address traffic congestion as well as environmental and safety problems caused by inadequate roads.
The situation can only get worse in 2009, when revenues for the Federal Highway Trust Fund begin falling short of planned federal spending.
It really is an education effort and DeFazio speaks to that.
"In the long run we've either got to admit we are going to underinvest and accept more gridlock and congestion" or find new revenue sources, said DeFazio, D-Ore.
What is clear to him is that raising taxes of any kind for the highway trust fund is possible only if people are convinced that more spending will mean less congestion, safer roads and a cleaner environment.
So tell them. And *ask* people if they want all their PUBLIC roads and systems privatized?????
The public will not support new taxes "just to throw money in the maw of the federal government," DeFazio said.
Heck. It's a BUDGETING issue on where you spend your money. The Bush administration has no problem with going heavily into debt EVERY SINGLE DAY for the Iraq War, but we can't decide that we would budget money for our ROADS??????
(I read the other day that Toll Road Queen Peters is using the Bart rail system in California as a test case for PPPs).
Befuddled, because the project's difficulties, including union opposition to privatizing public transit and the possibility that airport management could undermine the connector's success by building more parking, would seem to make it an uncertain candidate for promoting public-private partnerships.
Yes. Is it *Public* Transit or shall we just give up on the idea of egalitarianism entirely?
"The possible significance is that it helps us find more revenue sources to build and operate the connector," said BART spokesman Linton Johnson. "Before this decision, we couldn't go to the federal government for any money."
The new program, called the Federal Transit Administration Public Private Partnership Pilot Program, could end the prohibition for government collaborations with business.
"By participating in this program, this BART project is going to be on the cutting edge of how we fund and build public transportation in America," said Wes Irvin, spokesman for the transit administration in Washington, D.C.
The new program does not promise any money, but could allow the connector project access to a number of federal funding programs if it passes muster with federal planners.