Center for American Progress: TEA Act ‘misguided’

The liberal Center for American Progress is criticizing Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) for his proposal to eliminate the federal gas tax.

Lee has sponsored a bill that would gradually devolve federal transportation spending to states, an idea which has long been popular with conservative think tanks.

The measure, labeled the Transportation Empowerment Act (TEA), would reduce the federal gas tax that is traditionally used to pay for infrastructure improvements from 18.4 cents per gallon to 3.7 cents within five years.

In lieu of the current gas tax system, the TEA Act would transfer authority over federal highways and transit programs to states and replace current congressional appropriations with block grants.

The Center for American Progress said the measure would hurt states like Lee’s Utah.


Amtrak chief joins highway funding debate

Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman pushed Congress on Wednesday to stop dodging an increase in transportation funding he said was obviously necessary.

In a statement released after a Senate committee held a hearing on reauthorizing the federal transportation bill that is scheduled to expire in September, Boardman said lawmakers has been appropriating just enough transportation funding to get by in recent years.