Friday, May 24, 2013

AEI: How to Beat Memorial Day Traffic Forever

Doing some driving for the Memorial Day weekend?  Do you expect to be stuck in traffic?  Two American Enterprise Institute (AEI) scholars, Rick Geddes and Brad Wassink, have penned a piece for US News & World Report titled "How to Beat Memorial Day Traffic Forever."  Here are some highlights:
Given the state of America's highway system, perhaps members of Congress should be required to drive home for the national holiday as well.
At fault is an outmoded revenue structure that doesn't adequately fund the system or allocate revenues efficiently. The National Highway Trust Fund – through which the bulk of highway construction and maintenance monies flow – relies on a fuel tax that hasn't been adjusted for inflation in 20 years. The growing efficiency of cars in the U.S. compounds the shortfall – the fuel tax brings in considerably less money from a Prius than it did from a late 90s SUV. These twin forces ultimately pushed Congress to provide $35 billion in bailouts to the fund between 2008 and 2010.
A status quo solution would raise the gas tax to fund these needs. But Congress's willingness to raise the tax depends on Americans' willingness to accept a hike. And poll after poll shows Americans aren't willing. So where will the money come from?
Several solutions are detailed in the full article.  Happy driving!