July 29, 2015

336 words 2 mins read

Keep Missouri Money in Missouri with TEA

The Transportation Empowerment Act gives states control and funding for their roads. It is a far superior to the Highway Trust Fund, which is slush fund for pork projects.

Transportation Empowerment Act (TEA) from Senator Mike Lee would gradually shift federal gasoline taxes from Washington back to the states where they were collected without a Washington DC handling fee and without strings attached.

TEA embodies an idea I first heard from Ronald Reaganwhen he was governor of California. It’s time to end the Highway Trust Fund, which is bankrupt anyway. The HTF might have made sense when Eisenhower proposed the interstate highway system, but that project finished in 1990—during George H. W. Bush’s term in office. (Someone born in 1990 is 25 today.)

I’ve heard people freak out in public over TEA, believing it has something to do with toll roads. It doesn’t. It would give states more control over their own transportation, but it would also leave more money in states to fix problems. If states want to turn highways into toll roads, they’ll do it anyway. (Besides, I thought conservatives believed in people paying for what they use?)

Thomas Jefferson foresaw the problems with the federal government building highways. In a letter to James Madison he wrote:

Have you considered all the consequences of your proposition respecting post roads? I view it as a source of boundless patronage to the executive, jobbing to members of Congress & their friends, and a bottomless abyss of public money. You will begin by only appropriating the surplus of the post office revenues; but the other revenues will soon be called into their aid, and it will be a scene of eternal scramble among the members, who can get the most money wasted in their State; and they will always get most who are meanest.

How right TJ was.

While Congress is in recess, call your members and ask them to support TEA. Keep our money here in Missouri. Leave Washington DC to support itself for a change.