Highways, Bridges and Roads

GOP lawmaker OK with dismantling DOT

It would make sense to shut down the U.S. Department of Transportation and let states handle its functions, a Republican congressman said recently during a radio interview.

Appearing late last week on a radio show in his home state, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) agreed with the host of the program that the DOT was a “middleman” in transportation projects that can be done without.

“Well, I think there are some great ideas that would basically turn the Department of Transportation back to the states, because why do we have this system that says, hey, we’re going to just have you collect money, and we’re going to scrape some off the top,” Gardner said when KFKA 1310 AM host Amy Oliver asked him about the proposal Friday.

{mosads} “I mean, it makes no sense to have this middleman treated the way it is,” he continued.

Before Gardner made his remarks, Oliver had argued in a discussion about the federal gas tax that Colorado and other states should get to keep more of the money.

“Couldn’t we do something with our federal gasoline tax and just say, hey listen, you guys, what is the federal gasoline tax, I think it’s 18 cents a gallon, we’ll give you two cents,” the host said. “Let us just keep the rest. That way we don’t have to beg or anything like that. We just keep it here in Colorado.

“It really gets to the philosophy of what the proper function of government should be,” she said elsewhere in the interview. “Why on Earth should someone from Mississippi, why should federal tax money from any other state, Mississippi, Maine, Missouri, Ohio, anybody, have to pay for a runway here in northern Colorado?”

Gardner is a freshman representative elected in 2010. He defeated former Rep. Betsy Markey (D) in the wave that returned Republicans to control in the House.

A spokeswoman for Gardner disputed that the interview with Oliver suggested the congressman would support dismantling the DoT.

“When you listen to whole interview it is clear that Rep. Gardner is simply saying there is a discrepancy in transportation funding and Colorado is a net loser when it comes to the money we get back,” Garnder spokesman Rachel Boxer said in a statement provided to The Hill.  “He believes in letting Colorado keep more of the gas tax it collects therefore cutting some of the bureaucracy between the states and Washington.”

Listen to the full Gardner interview here.

This post was updated with new information at 5:37 p.m.

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