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Former Transportation Secretary LaHood: ‘We Need a Bipartisan Plan for Long-Term Funding’

Jan. 7, 2018 (EIRNS)—Newsweek's Jan. 3 issue ran an opinion column by Ray LaHood of Building America’s Future (BAF) the former Transportation Secretary, "Can Trump Make His Infrastructure Plan a Bipartisan Reality?" His fellow BAF director and former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell published an op-ed in Politico recently acknowledging that public-private partnerships, which he had long promoted, would not do the large job needed to rebuild America’s infrastructure. The BAF program now calls for Congressional creation of aa national infrastructure bank.

LaHood, after observations about the poor condition of highways, railroads, bridges, and the Atlanta Airport blackout, calls 2017 a missed opportunity to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, lost by the tax cut bill. Now, he says,

"We need a bipartisan and strategic plan that provides long-term funding. First, we need a big pot of money and the best way to do that is to modernize the gas tax."

By modernize, he means index to inflation, including retroactively to 1993. "The re-election rate of those legislators who voted to raise their gas taxes [in 24 states since 2013] was 91%," LaHood argues.

The former Transportation Secretary calls for close Federal cooperation with mayors and governors to "invest in transformational projects like high-speed rail," and proposes using the new gas tax funds to increase funding for competitive discretionary grants like the TIGER (Transportation Infrastructure Generating Economic Recovery) program.