Thursday, August 09, 2007

Rome burns. Bush fiddles.

We have a 1.5 trillion dollar infrastructure bill to pay.
MPR: Bush cool to federal gas tax increase

Just one week after the deadly I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis, President Bush reacted coolly to a plan to raise the federal gas tax.

President Bush said Congress should reprioritize the way it spends highway money instead of raising taxes to pay for future bridge repair.

"Before we raise taxes, which could affect economic growth, I would strongly urge the Congress to examine how they set priorities," said Bush. "If bridges are a priority, let's make sure that we set that priority before we raise taxes."

Bush made the comments one day after Rep. Jim Oberstar, DFL-Minn., announced a plan to increase the federal gas tax from 18 to 23 cents a gallon.

Oberstar, who chairs the House Transportation Committee, says the money would go into a new trust fund for repairing and replacing bridges. He said the plan would raise about $25 billion over three years....

Cut out GOP senator Stevens bridge to nowhere and a few similar boondoggles, and you get maybe $3 billion. We don't need $3 billion. Bush is an idiot.

On the other hand, assume we need to raise $2 trillion over 25 years (cost plus interest), so we need an extra $80 billion a year for the next 25 years. That's more like a 15 cents a gallon price rise in the gas tax. So three times what Oberstar is saying now, but, still, he's at least on the right track.

[rewritten, because I was too sleepy to remember we don't need to raise all the money all at once.]

I think we're going to lose at least a dozen major bridges before we get real.

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