Mineta shuts the tax pump

News
Printer-friendly version





Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta said that a gas tax increase would not be considered by the Bush Administration as part

Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta said that a gas tax increase would not be considered by the Bush Administration as part of the reauthorization of federal highway and transit programs. But congressional leaders said they would consider indexing or increasing fuel taxes to guarantee "a high-class infrastructure."


The remarks came during the "Transportation and the Economy" conference sponsored by the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.


Mineta outlined six priority objectives of the U.S. DOT for reauthorization legislation:


*Adequate and predictable funding protected by budgetary firewalls;


*Funding flexibility now provided under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century;


*Intermodal approaches;


*Security of the nation's transportation system;


*Innovative financing options; and


*Safety improvements, particularly in work zones.


The proposal will be included in the FY 2004 budget to be released in February, according to Mineta.


Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.) said that simply maintaining the highway system at acceptable levels could run as high as $55 billion per year compared to the current federal investment of $32 billion annually.


Jeffords also outlined six "driving" issues he said are essential to a strong economy, healthy communities and a clean environment and which should be addressed in providing transportation for the next generation. They include asset management, freight, a modern rail network, metropolitan mobility, safety and security, and enhancement of the natural and human environment.


Overlay Init