I wonder what my douchebag of a Congressman, Thomas Massie, is up to.
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) March 19, 2015
Wait, die-hard Glibertarian Thomas Massie sponsoring an infrastructure bill? What’s the catch?
Today, Congressman Thomas Massie introduced the DRIVE (Developing Roadway Infrastructure for a Vibrant Economy) Act of 2015 with Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH), Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI), Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), and Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) as original co-sponsors. The DRIVE Act (H.R. 1461) would help keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent and improve our national infrastructure, without raising the gas tax, by refocusing the Highway Trust Fund on its original and proper role of building and maintaining federal highways and bridges.
OK. So again, what’s the catch?
“Currently, gas tax revenue is diverted from the federal Highway Trust Fund for bike paths, sidewalks, mass transit, and other local projects,” said Congressman Massie. “But due to inflation and fuel efficiency improvements of today’s vehicles, there is no longer enough money in the Highway Trust Fund to maintain our nation’s critical highways and bridges while also funding local projects that have no federal nexus. By eliminating diversion of gas tax revenues, the DRIVE Act ensures that the Highway Trust Fund can fulfill its namesake duty – to fund highways, without an increase in the gas tax rate.”
Oh I get it. Let’s cut to the chase.
Annually, over $9 billion of the Highway Trust Fund goes to the Mass Transit Account, which provides funds for local public transportation projects, including subways, light rail, buses, and streetcars. Additional authorizations exist for sidewalks and bike paths to be funded from the Highway Trust Fund. The DRIVE Act repeals these authorizations and reduces Highway Trust Fund obligations by approximately $10 billion annually.
Ding ding ding! So we’re going to fix the Highway Trust Fund by cutting $10 billion a year from mass transit projects, like, say, Cincinnati’s streetcar.
Oh well played, Mr. Massie. Your bill has no chance in hell, but thanks for the heads up on what the GOP “fix” for the Highway Trust Fund is. Austerity for all the kids and trees and dogs and probably you too, because mass transit is the communist devil.
(Bonus: the Mass Transit Fund part of the Highway Trust Fund was created by Congress and signed into law by…*drum roll*…that known socialist collectivist Ronald Reagan in 1982. Orange Julius and the Gang That Couldn’t Legislate tried to kill the Mass Transit Fund in 2012 as part of their “JOBS” Act, which burst into flames the moment it was exposed to air and died miserably. Looks like they’re at it again.)