Highway Lobby: Obama DOT’s Transpo Goals ‘Not Appropriate’

The provisions the Obama administration wants to see added to an 18-month extension of current transportation law — adding up to $310 million for state and local planning — may look pretty minor to reform-minded voters. But they’re a bridge too far for the Washington highway lobby.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has made its feelings known on the issue of a "down payment" on broader policy changes, as the Obama DOT put it in yesterday’s release of transportation policy goals.

In AASHTO’s view, Congress should save the highway trust fund from insolvency, and nothing else:

[R]eforms are not appropriate to be considered as
part of legislation to provide interim funding to stabilize the Highway
Trust Fund. Major shifts in transportation policy should be considered
in the comprehensive legislation currently under development in the
House and Senate authorizing committees and not in legislative measures
to provide interim funding.

If only the group put that level of certainty behind its executive director’s recent call for the nation to "grow up and raise taxes" to pay for infrastructure.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Republicans Want to Hoard Transpo Money and Call It Deficit Reduction

|
Transportation advocates, from both the highway and transit lobbies, are up in arms about a proposed change to House rules governing transportation spending. It would jeopardize dedicated transportation funds by changing the rule requiring that a certain level of highway trust fund money be spent each year. According to a letter [PDF] sent to House leadership […]

LaHood Asks For 18-Month Extension of Four-Year-Old Transpo Law

|
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is asking Congress to extend the existing federal transportation law for 18 months, averting the coming insolvency of the nation’s highway trust fund while putting off broad-based transport reform for as long as the Bush administration did in the days surrounding the 2004 election. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (Photo: AP) LaHood’s […]

Obama Administration’s Transportation Goals: Read Them Here

|
When the Obama administration proposed an 18-month delay in drafting the next federal transportation bill, U.S. DOT chief Ray LaHood called for Congress to include "critical reforms" alongside the extension of the existing law. But details on those reforms have been kept under wraps — until today. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, with his boss at […]

Eno: Stop Obsessing Over the Gas Tax and Change How We Fund Transpo

|
Twenty years ago, Japan’s electoral reform redistributed power, giving urban constituencies a greater voice. One result: Japan eliminated its version of the Highway Trust Fund, which urban voters saw as satisfying the interests of the construction lobby, not their own. If city-dwellers had a greater voice in the United States, would the same thing happen? […]