Those who oppose bigger unfunded US Government grants are "bozos" or "flat-earthers" - Pete DeFazio
By Peter Samuel
If you oppose the Democrat Party's proposal for larger unfunded federal handouts for roads and transit, then the Minority leader of the House Transportation Committee Pete DeFazio (Dem, OR) considers you a "bozo" or a "flat-earther" or both.
Said DeFazio in a speech on the House floor: "We are going to lose half of the proposed projects this construction season around America, tens of thousands of jobs, needed investment because they got a bunch of bozos in their caucus who don't believe we should have a national transportation system."n another portion of the DeFazio speech those debt-averse, budget-conscious bozos became "flat-earthers."
Some at least of these bozos/flat-earthers believe many highways don't need constantly expanding US Government handouts. They believe that responsibility for their funding could might well be better handled if left to lower levels of government since a great deal of what needs to be done on the interstate highway system is modernization, reconstruction, selective widening and traffic management via detailed design to accomodate local peculiarities. Much of this could best be done via direct charges on motorists (tolls).
The direct charges would serve multiple purposes:
- focussing money on urgent projects since those will have the greatest revenue potential
- funding modernization now
- providing a revenue stream in the future for continued management, maintenance and improvements
- allow management of scarce roadspace to give priority to high value trips
- variable time of day charges can help shift lower value trips to other times and modes
Simply repealing the bans in US law on using tolls for work on interstate highways might also create "tens of thousands of jobs" and induce "needed investment" that DeFazio pretends can only come about as a result of expanding his committee's unfunded grants.
And it might make for better designed, better managed, more promptly built projects. And it might leave a smaller legacy of debt than the DeFazian approach of just letting unfunded US grants sail ever upward.
As for "believing we should have a national transportation system" in DeFazian thinking that apparently precludes delegation of decisions about spending and priorities from the national government to states or local government, or, forbid the thought, to self-funding road provider entities.
Only at the national level - in US government agencies and the US Congress - is there the expertise and the wisdom to determine how the transportation system should be shaped, according to the right-thinking DeFazios of the US Congress. If you disagree with Rep Pete you are just a bozo or a flat-earther.
see the quality of debate in the US Congress: