Highway Users Remind Lawmakers that Taxpayers Are Short-Changed by Administration's Earmarks
WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the American Highway Users Alliance called on Congress to reject provisions in the Obama Administration's budget proposal that would divert $200 million in highway taxes for Administration earmarking. The budget proposes that these highway user fees be redirected into a new "livable communities" program, administered and earmarked by federal government officials.
"State highway programs are dangerously underfunded. One-quarter of our bridges need repairs and pavement conditions are rapidly deteriorating with the brutal winter, but the plan proposed by the Administration would divert the fuel fees paid by motorists and truckers to non-highway projects," said Greg Cohen, Highway Users President and CEO. "By holding back funding to address immediate highway needs, the Administration's proposal shows more interest in dictating spending priorities from Washington than improving our ailing system."
The Administration's bias against highway users is becoming a serious problem. Nearly 9 out of 10 trips taken by Americans are in a car. But DOT officials seem oblivious to the needs of the motorists. This week, officials announced their earmarks from last year's stimulus bill, also known as "TIGER grants." Although most of the grants requested by applicants were for highway projects, only 42% of the grants were distributed for highway projects.
Ignoring highway needs is not harmless. There are real human victims, like the ten people who have tragically and unnecessarily lost their lives in the past two years on one dangerous turn of less than four miles on Highway 56 in Georgia. Incredulously, funding shortfalls will prevent the Georgia Department of Transportation from fixing this perilous stretch until at least 2013.
"With over four billion dollars in the FY11 budget proposal proposed to go to discretionary earmarks for USDOT officials, the shortage of federal-aid to states for highway safety and congestion relief funding adds insult to injury," Cohen noted.
The American Highway Users Alliance represents motorists, bus companies, truckers, RV enthusiasts, motorcyclists and a broad cross-section of businesses that depend on safe and efficient highways to transport their families, customers, employees, and products. Highway Users members advocate public policies that improve highway safety and mobility.
SOURCE American Highway Users Alliance