The Obama Administration's Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and Republican House Chairman John Mica seem to agree that US policy ought to embrace a newly restrictive rule: no tolls on interstates except when they fund new lanes.
Democrat transport policy, you could say, is the same old thing: "tax it, regulate it, earmark it, grandstand it, or indebt it." That would be in line with the old line Democrat pol and house chair of transportation James Oberstar's characterization today of Administration policy as "toll it, privatize it, lease it, sell it, or congestion price it." (press release 2008-07-29)
AASHTO also touts "China model" but fails to understand it - the Highway Petes have it all wrong (EDITORIAL)By Peter Samuel on June 25, 2008
The example-de-jour among the Washington highway lobbyists is the "China model." The Chinese are spending big on highways and we need to too, is the gist of their message.
US secretary of transportation Mary Peters told a meeting of governors at the White House Feb 25 that they have the "opportunity to unleash the greatest new wave of transportation investment this country has ever seen." She was continuing to make the case for abandoning the five yearly tax-and-grant programs and politicized control of road projects in favor of market-based funding and management.
Appearing before the congress' transport study commission March 19 IBTTA exec-director Pat Jones said governments in the US won't and can't make the tax-based grants needed to sustain and improve roads, and tolling is destined to fill the gap. He cited GAO reports on the federal budget as showing that even present discretionary spending is unsustainable so increases in federal funding are out of the question.