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Bozita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 10:16 AM
Original message
Private funding, tolls pushed to fix roads
Source: Detroit News

Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Private funding, tolls pushed to fix roads
U.S. Transportation Secretary says she's opposed to efforts to raise gas tax.
David Shepardson / Detroit News Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters plans to propose a radical reform of how the nation finances highway projects, urging a big boost in the amount of private sector funding for road improvements.

In a nearly hour-long interview with The Detroit News, Peters also voiced strong opposition to any efforts to boost the federal gas tax, the primary revenue source for the highway trust fund. The current six-year $286.4 billion road funding law expires in 2009, and Congress will spend much of next year fighting over how to pay for the nation's crumbling roads, bridges and highways.

"The current system just is not working," Peters said Monday, noting the current system of predominantly gas tax funded highway construction was too complex with too many programs and little flexibility. "What are we buying with the public's money and are we getting a good return on that investment?"

The highway trust fund faces a looming shortfall of as much as $4.3 billion -- in part because Americans have used 1.5 percent less gasoline to date in 2008, providing less revenue from the federal gas tax. Peters is opposed to raising the gas tax, which has remained at 18.4 cents a gallon since 1993, or indexing it to inflation.

Read more: http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080...



Just what kind of "return on investment" are we getting from our Iraq spending?
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flashl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 10:43 AM
Response to Original message
1. Congestion pricing of transportation
To drive down traffic and allow private companies to use new tech like transponders and automatic toll collection that allows them to figuratively put a "toll booth on every corner".

(Bush) Letting the Market Drive Transportation


It took a few moments for Tyler Duvall, the top policymaker at the Department of Transportation, to digest the news from the Hill. But when he realized what it meant, he was stunned.

Last year, Congress decided not to dictate how the department could spend its discretionary funds. No earmarks, no strings, no arm-twisting from lawmakers to direct money to bus systems or other mass-transit projects in hundreds of communities nationwide.

Duvall and other top department officials were staring at nearly $1 billion. And they knew exactly how to spend it.

...

They and other political appointees have spent the latter part of President Bush's two terms laboring behind the scenes to shrink the federal role in road-building and public transportation. They have also sought to turn highways into commodities that can be sold or leased to private firms and used by motorists for a price.

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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Like the privatazation of everything, it costs the rest of us more
but eases the tax burden on the very rich while lining their pockets with our money. Meanwhile, we get services that suck.
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flashl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 11:13 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Exactly. nt
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Trillo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Sure. Businesses can deduct costs incurred in transportation.
Workers, getting to and from work, cannot. Nor can consumers deduct the costs of getting to the grocery store or other needed or discretionary "personal" suppliers.
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Zorra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. Yep. They'll cut corners and use the cheapest labor and materials
Edited on Wed Jul-23-08 11:35 AM by Zorra
possible in order to continually increase profits with little or no regard for safety.

The result will be roads and bridges that need perpetual repair, inefficient services that will bog down the economy, and a probable increase in accidents.

Etc., ad infinitum.
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pattmarty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 10:44 AM
Response to Original message
2. This is total bullshit!!! Bush and his "crew" can't leave the Whitehouse soon enough.
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fascisthunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 12:20 PM
Response to Original message
7. Everything is for sale! Going, going, gone!
absolutely idiotic and a bas bad idea. They will cut corners like any other private company to increase or maintain profits. But hey, I bet U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters is happy as hell, and so are her "customers".
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trogdor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 12:23 PM
Response to Original message
8. Why not sell naming rights?
Like the "National Grid Thruway" or "Proctor and Gamble Expressway" or "AT&T Turnpike"? Sheesh!
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Bozita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. The Jello toll bridge or the Blackwater USA tollroad ? How about the GOP Continental Divide?
Maybe the Empire State Building could become Viagra Tower.


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tanyev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:52 PM
Response to Original message
10. The current system used to work, Ms. Peters.
Before the Republicans took over and obliterated it.
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