Want to pay for the Roads? Sell the Federal Lands
Last month, the Senate passed legislation extending the authorization of the Highway Trust Fund for two months. Extending the trust fund is considered must-pass legislation because without the federal government, who would build the roads?
Since the last time Congress passed a long-term funding highway funding measure was 2005, it is likely that Congress will pass another short-term extension before their August recess. The reason Congress has been unable to pass a long-term highway bill is because of problems with the Highway Trust Fund.
The Highway Trust Fund is supposed to be funded solely by revenues from the federal gas tax. However, in recent years, revenues from the gas tax have been insufficient to cover the costs of the Highway Trust Fund. Therefore Congress has been authorizing “transfers” of money from the general fund to the Highway Trust Fund.
Meanwhile, Congress continues to debate the best way to fix the Highway Trust Fund. There are two sides to this debate. One side wants to raise the gas tax, while the other side wants to reform the trust fund. Campaign for Liberty, of course, opposes raising the gas tax. Instead, we support devolving the responsibility for highway finding to state governments and even private businesses. We also believe that Congress should look for innovative ways to fund the trust fund to enable a smooth transition from the current system to one more consistent with the constitution and sound economics.
For example, Campaign for Liberty is supporting the American Land Act (HR 1931), legislation introduced by Representative Ted Poe (TX-02). This legislation would fund the Highway Trust Fund by selling off public lands. Thus it not only provides a way to fund the trust fund without raising taxes, it reduces the government’s land holdings.
Campaign for Liberty members who want to reduce federal land holdings and who oppose increasing the gas tax should call their representatives and ask them to cosponsor HR 1931, the American Land Act.