Feb 09, 2018
Smarter Spending, Protecting Taxpayers & Reducing Regulatory Gridlock Critical for Maintaining & Modernizing Infrastructure
Post by Freedom Partners
Arlington, VA — As Congress and the administration continue the effort of updating and expanding our nation’s roads, bridges, airports and waterways, Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce today released a set of guiding principles aimed at promoting greater effectiveness, efficiency and accountability in any upcoming infrastructure improvement plan.
President Trump will soon release a plan designed to kick off the process for producing infrastructure legislation this year, according to Bloomberg.
Smarter Infrastructure Spending: Federal spending should be reserved for projects that are truly national priorities, for which the federal government has an obvious role. Projects that are inherently state or local in nature should be considered by state and local governments, while projects like 5G mobile networks should remain in the private sector. Federal gas tax dollars should be dedicated to improving mobility, congestion, or safety on the nation’s interstate highways – not building “bridges to nowhere.”
No New Burdens: Gas tax dollars should only be used for their core purpose – the construction and maintenance of road and bridge infrastructure. Instead of increasing the gas tax, which falls hardest on the least fortunate, lawmakers should stop diverting gas tax dollars to non-essential and wasteful projects and use those dollars to pay for roads and bridges. As much as 28% of federal gas taxes are diverted to projects like ferry boats and terminals, regional planning bureaucracies, bike and pedestrian trails, vegetation management, historic preservation, and transit.
Breaking Through Regulatory Gridlock: Free up states by providing additional flexibility for use of federal highway funds, and even devolving responsibility for some or even all highway infrastructure.
Americans for Prosperity Chief Government Affairs Officer Brent Gardner issued the following statement:
“States have seen firsthand the pitfalls of transportation ‘stimulus’ spending, particularly during the Obama administration — unchecked spending drove up the debt but didn’t unleash a string of ‘shovel ready’ projects. Too often legitimate projects were bogged down in regulatory red tape. With these lessons in mind, greater efficiency and accountability, and easing the regulatory shackles should be pillars of any infrastructure legislation. Smarter spending will also be crucial if lawmakers hope to adequately address all facets of America’s infrastructure. We look forward to working with stakeholders in Congress and the White House on this important issue as it takes shape this year.”
Freedom Partners Executive Vice President Nathan Nascimento added:
“If there was any good that came from President Obama’s failed trillion-dollar stimulus it’s that it showed just how dysfunctional and wasteful the federal government is when it comes to infrastructure. Outdated and unnecessary regulations cost taxpayers billions of dollars by driving up costs, reducing competition, and removing accountability. We want to ensure Washington doesn’t repeat the mistakes of the Obama administration by finally bringing some oversight and accountability to a process that has been plagued with cronyism and abuse.”
Freedom Partners and Americans for Prosperity recently joined in opposition to efforts to increase the federal gas tax to pay for infrastructure spending. In a letter to President Trump, the organizations warned that including a proposal by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to raise the gas tax from 18.4 cents per gallon to 43.4 cents—the largest increase in the history of the tax—would undermine the benefits of recently enacted tax relief.
Americans for Prosperity previously led a coalition of 50 conservative groups in a letter encouraging members of Congress to prioritize fiscal responsibility while addressing the nation’s infrastructure. Transportation spending policies under the previous administration, mainly the 2009 “stimulus,” were wrought with spending boondoggles and waste.