Highway Bill Incoming?
That’s the sentiment Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is expressing. Roll Call reports (subs. req’d.) that the Senator has painted an “upbeat picture” of highway bill discussions:
“We are making very solid progress. I would say great progress. I believe we are going to have a bill.”
She seems to believe a bill will be passed before the June 30th deadline, when the current transportation bill expires. She also believes that the Keystone XL pipeline will not be included in the final bill.
But even if House Republican negotiators get their way and Keystone is included, it is almost impossible for the current discussions to lead to a version of the highway bill that is acceptable to conservatives. The current bill spends more than dedicated revenues bring in, which will lead to yet another taxpayer-funded bailout of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). We can’t afford the bills we’re currently paying for, and continuing to spend more on transportation than incoming revenue allows will not solve our fiscal problems.
Instead, Congress should stop the nonsense, which makes local governments push back their infrastructure plans while they wait for Washington, and allow the states to control their own transportation dollars. The federal government gets out of the way, and the states get more flexibility to spend on projects that are actually needed, instead of those dictated to them by a centralized government.