The long-awaited report by the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission has finally been released and it's sure to create a stir as it calls for annual increases in the gas tax of 5 to 8 cents for 5 years, and then some.
"The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, a "non-partisan panel created by Congress, issued a report calling for a massive infusion of money into the country's transportation system, including transit as well as commercial and passenger rail service."
"'We have a looming crisis,' said Jack Schenendorf, vice chairman of the National Surface Transportation Policy Revenue Study Commission."
He described the crisis as being intergenerational in that the preceding generation created a world-class road system that the current generation is allowing to deteriorate because it is under-funded, "spending less that 40%" of what is should on surface transportation.
"The commission also called on the country to move away from the gas tax toward a system where drivers are taxed for highways based on how many miles they drive.
The commission's sweeping report also recommended fee increases to pay for new transit projects, new passenger rail service and improving ways to move freight to market. The commission's recommendations included:
•A federal ticket tax on bus or light rail trips to help pay for transit service.
•A freight fee to help pay for moving products.
•A tax on train tickets to help pay for more intercity passenger rail service. The commission envisions a high-speed rail network in 13 to 15 major corridors across the United States that are 300 to 500 miles length."