Transportation Reauthorization: Being Responsible Means Not Raising Gas Tax

Responsible funding for transportation may no longer be the conventional "pay-as-you-go" user fee system whereby drivers pay for projects through gas taxes. House Transportation Chair Mica wants to fund the bill responsibly, but rules out new taxes.

Reporting on the slow-goings of the transportation conference committee composed of 47 House and Senate members working to reauthorize the nation's surface transportation funding and authorization program that expired September 30, 2009, Keith Laing captured House Transportation Committee Chair John Mica's position on responsibility in transportation funding and spending.

"We can't just continue to do throw money at problems," Mica said. "We tried that on the stimulus bill."

Mica said Republicans on the conference committee were willing to work with Democrats on finding common ground on transportation funding, but he added "we're going to have to pay for this and pay for this responsibly."

"We're not going to raise taxes," Mica said. "Anyone who wants to raise taxes, you're on the wrong committee."

The House is at a disadvantage in the conference committee because they have not passed a reauthorization bill, only a three month extension set to begin on July 1 (not to be confused with the current, three-month extension that began April 1. While the Senate has passed a $109 billion, two-year reauthorization bill (MAP-21 or S.1813) , it is not entirely funded by the Highway Trust Fund's user fees. As gas and diesel taxes have not been raised since 1993, the Senate bill includes $10 billion from other sources that critics view as a "gimmick" funding maneuver.

Thanks to The Hill's E-news

Full Story: Highway conference gets off to slow start

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