Georgia Congressman Tom Graves (R-GA) has been hard at work during his time in Washington, D.C. efforting to lower taxes, cut spending and reform our government in a conservative and liberty minded fashion. We haven’t always agreed with the votes he’s cast or the decisions he’s made, but we are certainly big fans of his latest efforts on Transportation. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) recently praised Graves on Facebook – Great Medium article by Congressman Tom Graves about the Transportation Empowerment Act, which lowers the federal gas tax and gives most power for maintaining highways back to the states.
The article is based on a speech Congressman Graves gave at the Heritage Foundation last year and its purpose is to reform the way we deal with transportation in America today.
I can guarantee better roads without the federal government raising taxes…
Here’s where the Transportation Empowerment Act comes in. It’s based on a proposal first crafted by John Kasich, now the governor of Ohio, and was supported by a bipartisan group of Democrats and Republicans. The Transportation Empowerment Act is a plan to reform the bankrupt, messy, and unfair federal highway program into an efficient, locally controlled system that improves the quality of life for every driver and commuter in America while reducing gas taxes and increasing spending on highways at home.
The bill transfers almost all authority over federal highway and transit programs to the states over a five-year period. During this phase-out, states receive block grants that come with vastly fewer federal strings attached and the federal gas tax is lowered to 3.7 cents from the current 18.4 cents. This gives states more flexibility to determine the tax structure that best fits their unique transportation needs.
State dollars would go much further. You would not have unreasonable federal red-tape delays. You would not have the extra 10 percent cost that Davis-Bacon rules are estimated to add. States could learn from each other and find the most efficient and effective systems. In the end, you’d have fewer Washington strings attached and more cash going to roads, bridges, or whatever a particular state wants to build.