The Wall Street Journal Aug. 6 published a letter by ARTBA President and CEO Pete Ruane that challenged one of the newspaper’s recent editorials.
Here’s his response:
Your editorial “Mad Tax Fury Road” (July 28) perpetrates the myth that the federal highway and transit program is somehow a “command and control operation.” It is not.
The assertion that “politicians in Washington will still pick winner and loser states as they have since Eisenhower” is wrong. Under existing law, every state receives back more money for transportation improvements than it contributes to the Highway Trust Fund in gas-tax revenue.
The editorial notes “a real long-term bill with fresh thinking would give more responsibility to Governors.” Most of federal highway program dollars are used for capital expenditures, not for operating costs. The fact is that all of the decisions about how to invest those funds and on which projects are already made by the governors and their state transportation departments, not by bureaucrats in Washington.