Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chair John Duncan (R-TN) can’t stop mentioning that this kind of hearing has “never been done before.” The subcommittee is hearing from 20 witnesses a day for two days in an effort to satisfy every interest group’s need to speak before the committee gets to work crafting the next surface transportation reauthorization bill.
As I write, we’re on Witness #7 for Day Two. We’ve hearing a lot of frustration about the government’s hamstrung ability to invest in infrastructure because of unwillingness to raise the gas tax or shift to a vehicle-miles-traveled fee. (In fact, Adrian Moore of the Reason Foundation just made a passionate plea for a VMT fee, despite what Duncan thought was the irony of a libertarian, usually so concerned with privacy issues, advocating for a system some have worried would be overly intrusive.)
Some made suggestions on how to do more with less and some said they’re already doing way too much with way too little. Transit advocates said the service reductions that transit agencies have been forced to undertake were “criminal” and highway advocates said transit should be kicked out of the highway trust fund.
We’ll post the details when today’s session is over. Meanwhile, you can watch the proceedings live here.