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Wisconsin is a particularly significant test case for considering alternatives to the excise tax on fuel, especially considering the proposal that emerged in the days after Gov. Scott Walker won re-election.
In his Nov. 14 budget request, Mark Gottlieb, Wisconsin’s secretary of Transportation, suggested assessing a special $50 registration fee on owners of hybrid and electric vehicles “to ensure these owners continue to pay their fair share of the operating costs of our infrastructure.”
At a time when U.S. airline passengers are experiencing the highest rate of flight delays in more than 20 years, the Federal Aviation Administration is proposing radical changes to its air traffic control management programs that could lead to further flight delays, cancellations and jeopardize aircraft and passenger safety.
Senate talks are underway in hopes of wrapping up a spending measure by Saturday.
Privatization backers of a corporation model such as the one used in Canada would help advance the technological upgrades required under the beleaguered NextGen air traffic control modernization program.
The question of whether the government should run the air traffic control system has been hanging over the aviation industry, and Capitol Hill, at least since President Ronald Reagan quashed the 1981 controllers’ strike. Any talk about restructuring or privatizing the operations now under the Federal Aviation Administration has long been blocked by the union representing the controllers, however, arguing that air traffic control is inherently a government function.
Last May, Reuters ran two articles about the White House’s pending decision on the renewable-fuel standard, which federally mandates how much biofuel must be blended into the transportation fuel supply in the United States.
This sign should be plastered all over Washington, D.C., as lawmakers return from summer break. Congress has had the past five weeks to visit their homes and travel on America’s crumbling highway system.
Fighting the last war over again is a bad strategy for future military planning. Using science of the past in crafting technology policies for the future is just as foolish. Yet that’s what’s happening in the debate over refilling the Highway Trust Fund’s depleted financial tank.
A traveler wishing to ride the rails in Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor between Washington, D.C., and Boston can choose from dozens of trains per day. Anyone wishing to ride the Sunset Limited from New Orleans to Los Angeles, however, has more limited options: There’s one train on Monday, one on Wednesday and one on Saturday.
Labor Day marks the unofficial beginning of fall with back-to-school season, cooler temperatures and, for some, the long-awaited return of football. The National Football League season kicks off on Sept. 4 in Seattle with a rematch of the infamous 2012 “Fail Mary” game between the Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers. Believe it or not, this game holds a lesson for students of transportation and tax policy — both teams are known for their superstar quarterbacks and rabid fan bases, but there is a significant difference in how they chose to finance their stadiums. Lambeau Field’s renovations were partially funded by a sales tax paid by those who benefit the most from the team and the stadium — the citizens of Green Bay, Wis. CenturyLink Field, on the other hand, was built using money collected from discriminatory taxes on car rentals paid by visitors to Seattle.
Will U.S. commercial aviation travel the same path as U.S. maritime where flags of convenience cripple an important part of our economy?
Now that Congress has “patched” the Highway Trust Fund to save it from insolvency, it is time to get some clarity on a notable element of the Obama administration’s GROW AMERICA ACT that would lift the decades-old ban on tolling the interstates. Removing this ban would give states much-needed flexibility to tackle their growing transportation challenges. Yet critics of both tolling and the administration’s proposal are incorrectly suggesting that tolling is being proposed as a means of paying for the federal highway program.
Americans love the open road — it symbolizes the freedoms our country provides and a sense of exploration that has helped build our nation. The vast interstate network of asphalt and pavement for decades has facilitated people’s travel to places near and far for commerce or recreation. Now, that free system is under attack by some policymakers who want to roll back longstanding restrictions on tolling interstates. Doing that, as Massachusetts Transportation Department chief Richard A. Davey suggested in a July 25 Roll Call guest opinion column, would enable states to slap economically punitive fees on roads that traditionally have been toll-free. Such a policy reversal would be financially devastating for families and businesses, and the mere notion of it should alarm everyone who uses the interstates.
Pension funds are slowly starting to take a look at investing in infrastructure projects, raising hopes among transportation advocates and lawmakers that the country’s roads and bridges could see an infusion of private cash.
Our nation’s transportation infrastructure is the backbone of a strong U.S. economy. But with a trillion-dollar backlog, America is simply not spending enough to keep its infrastructure in good repair. Investing in transportation is about more than filling potholes and paving roads; investment creates jobs and stimulates economic activity. Across the political spectrum, from the Simpson-Bowles Commission to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the AFL-CIO, there is broad, bipartisan consensus to invest more in transportation.
A lot has been written in this newspaper about how little Congress is accomplishing this summer. But there is something important Washington could do before the August recess without any congressional action — demand safer standards for hauling crude oil.
Conservative groups and Republican lawmakers want to revive a policy debate over the federal role in transportation policy as Congress gets ready to debate a long-term reauthorization of highway and transit programs.
Congress is once more setting itself up for a last-minute funding crisis, set to hit right before lawmakers take off for their August recess.
A provision in the GROW AMERICA Act, introduced to Congress last month by Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, proposes lifting a decades-old ban on tolling existing interstate general purpose lanes.