NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Simple Transportation Reforms Would Save Americans Billions

February 13, 2015

The Heritage Foundation has released a new report on the American budget with 106 different ways to cut spending and decrease the size of government. Take a look at their suggestions for transportation:

  • The Highway Trust Fund (HTF) is supposed to be funded with federal gas taxes, but Congress has repeatedly transferred additional dollars to the HTF, totaling $62 billion since 2008. The fund's revenues cannot keep up with spending, though a large portion of HTF funds (25 percent) are spent on projects such as nature paths, landscaping, and bus systems. Heritage recommends limiting HTF spending to its actual revenue, which would save Americans $179 billion over a decade.
  • Amtrak was created in 1971 and since its inception has received more than $66 billion from taxpayers - and for what? The trains run behind schedule, and labor costs are responsible for half of the company's operating costs due to labor agreements which demand high wages and benefits. The report recommends getting rid of federal subsidies, saving Americans $49 billion over a 10-year period.
  • The New Starts Transit Program is a 1991 program that gives grants to agencies to build new transit systems. Remarkably, the report notes that grant eligibility includes such things as congestion relief and environmental benefits but not "operating efficiencies." Getting rid of the program would save $21 billion over 10 years.

For more cost-cutting measures, see "The Budget Book: 106 Ways to Reduce the Size and Scope of Government."

Source: "The Budget Book: 106 Ways to Reduce the Size and Scope of Government," Heritage Foundation, February 2015.


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