Marine Transportation System

Archive for June 18th, 2009|Daily archive page

To Reform, Perchance to Tax (Aye, There’s the Rub)

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2009 at 2:03 pm

The unveiling of T&I Chairman Jim Oberstar’s [TEA] bill had competition for ink.  Former House colleague and DOT Secretary Ray LaHood yesterday proposed that instead of tackling the full $450B authorization bill Congress should:

Extend SAFETEA-LU for 18 months | Adopt some reforms  |  Hold off raising the gas tax.

There is political wisdom in the Administration’s position.  The failing Highway Trust Fund notwithstanding it’s not a propitious time to raise taxes.  Besides Congress already faces a daunting agenda, pressed by the White House to tackle healthcare, finance sector reform, economic recovery, and climate change first.  LaHood’s stance was endorsed yesterday by Senate EPW Chair Barbara Boxer, whose committee wasn’t going to produce its version any time soon anyway.  But Oberstar is consistent and persistent.  He has been building toward this time and is raring to go.  As far as he is concerned Congress should get it done in time for SAFETEA-LU’s expiration (Sept30) and he will get his bill out this summer.  And, not coincidentally, he will plant the first stake as to new policy in this era that some hope will become the Transportation Reformation.  (It will take at least ninety-five theses to get us back to ISTEA.) – Pbea

To Reform, Perchance to Tax (Aye, There’s the Rub)