End the Redistribution of Drivers’ Wealth

The Heritage Foundation’s Ron Utt wants Congress to address the problem of regional inequities in federal transportation spending:

“Largely funded by the federal fuel tax that motorists and truckers pay when they fill their tanks, federal highway spending is distributed to the states according to a complicated mathematical formula that attempts to measure need. The formula has changed little since it was developed decades ago and today contains pervasive inequities that consistently reward some states with more money than they pay in (“donee” states) while shortchanging others (“donors”). . . . . [T]his year [Congress] should use their power to insist that a permanent and meaningful remedy to these pervasive regional equities be a part of any highway reauthorization bill. While one way to do this is to change the flawed formulas that govern the program, an even better way would be to begin the process of “turning back” highway funding to the states and allowing each state to retain the federal taxes receipts collected within its borders. Given the congestion reduction needs of the faster growing states, there is no reason why motorists in Texas, Georgia, and other donor states should be subsidizing the wealthier citizens of Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania.”

Read the article here.

Leonard Gilroy is vice president of government reform at Reason Foundation and senior managing director of Reason's Pension Integrity Project.