House Republican pushing mileage tax to bolster Transportation funds; Update: Or did he?

posted at 10:21 am on February 6, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Over the last few years, we’ve seen Democrats raise the idea of adding a new revenue source to supplement the gas tax, as revenues have declined from this stream due to increased fuel efficiency thanks to mandates to that effect imposed by Congress. One bad idea that never seems to die is a mileage tax, which would force Americans to track their travel — or have government do it for them. That idea got shelved along with the Democratic House majority in 2011, but now it’s crept across the aisle (via Instapundit):

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster said he favors user fees including a vehicle miles tax to pay for a long-term U.S. highway bill that would extend for at least five years.

Shuster rejected the idea of raising the nation’s 18.4 cents-per-gallon gasoline tax, now the primary method of paying for road, bridge and mass transit projects. Besides a mileage tax, he said other funding methods include higher taxes on energy exploration and bringing back corporate profits earned overseas.

Well, that’s just a cornucopia of bad ideas, isn’t it? Higher energy taxes in a stagnant economy disincentivizes investment and risk by adding cost, and it applies direct inflationary pressure to retail goods, especially produce. Taxing funds that corporations keep offshore is part of why those funds are offshore in the first place — a badly contructed corporate-tax system that puts American corporations at a competitive disadvantage. One thing that Transportation could do is strip out all of the pork-barrel projects that get written into the bill, which is usually among the porkiest of all appropriations from Congress. Maybe that extra cash can keep them busy for a while.  Even better yet, they could stop spending billions of dollars for high-speed rail in systems that don’t come close to crossing state lines, and let the states build their own toy choo-choo systems and deal with the massive bankruptcies that follow.

But of all the dumb ideas in that effort, the mileage tax is the worst. A gas tax is a usage tax, one that doesn’t require Americans to keep special records or for government to snoop into their driving habits. As I wrote almost three years ago, this is an entrée to massive invasions of privacy and IRS harassment:

One shudders to think what happens when the IRS gets your annual mileage wrong and a taxpayer disputes the record.  Where were you on the night of April 19th, Canarsie?  We show you drove 6.3 miles to Bada-Bing Strip Club in New Jersey. Even if exact destinations aren’t recorded (earlier suggestions were to use GPS devices), the taxpayer would get hit with a massive bill during the annual tax-preparation ritual with little or no chance to dispute the claims of the government.

Plus, let’s talk about equipment costs, both private and public.  This new tax system would require tracking equipment in every vehicle, which would mean retrofit costs for current vehicles and higher prices for new cars immediately.  What are the unemployed supposed to do — stop driving?  That should help when it comes to looking for work.

The government will either have to use GPS devices (that will track and record destination data) or install tollbooth passes every few miles on every road in America. The IRS will also have to set up an enforcement bureau to ensure that drivers don’t disable their tracking systems.  In California, this meant that every driver had to get biennial emission-control equipment inspections, an expensive waste of time and money for most drivers.  Will the IRS, which is just now branching out into the health-insurance inspection business, add a national DMV bureau as well?

Finally, do we really want to live in a country where the federal government virtually follows you everywhere you go?  Growing up in the Cold War, that’s what we were told the Soviet Union was like.  It will be the high-tech version of internal travel documents, or at the very least puts that power in the hands of the federal government.

This is a bad idea when it comes from Democrats, and it’s worse when it comes from Republicans. Perhaps the best idea would be to get the federal government out of the transportation maintenance business with the exception of those highways which are truly interstate, and let the states keep their money and deal with their own transportation issues.

Update: Bill Shuster is furious at Bloomberg, claiming that the piece materially misrepresented his position on this issue:

At Bloomberg Government’s “America on the Move: Investing in U.S. Infrastructure” event on Tuesday, February 4, 2014, House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster spoke about his vision for the next surface transportation reauthorization legislation that he and his committee will be developing in 2014.  During the question and answer portion of the event, Bloomberg’s Peter Cook asked Chairman Shuster about his ideas to fill the Highway Trust Fund.

Chairman Shuster’s response was as follows (excerpt taken from Bloomberg’s transcript), “Now, I do think we need to start the discussion on — and I don’t believe it’s going to be solve in this bill, but start the discussion on, you know, down the road how — is it vehicle miles traveled?  You know, what are the other ways to generate the funds?  Because the trust fund, we all know, everybody’s — in the next couple of years, we’ll all be driving cars going 50 miles an hour, cars that don’t use fuel, use electricity or some say use coal if you use electricity — 50 percent of it is oil; I like to remind that to people….”

Bloomberg’s Laura Litvan reported this comment as, “Mileage Tax Pushed by Shuster to Pay for U.S. Highway Bill.” With the Committee in the initial stages of developing the new surface transportation bill, Chairman Shuster was simply asking a question about the topic. As you can see, based on Bloomberg’s own transcript of the event, this headline misrepresents the Chairman’s comments.

Shuster is the first to raise “vehicle miles traveled” as one of the ideas under consideration, according to the transcript, after Peter Cook asks Shuster to cite “two or three” ideas to increase revenue for Transportation funding. He also added that the committee was watching a study from Iowa State on ten cities that were tracking vehicle miles, which Transportation apparently “expanded” in the last two bills:

shuster-xscript2

That leads directly to this exchange:

shuster-xscriptSo it appears that while it’s an overreach to say that Shuster is proposing this as a solution, it’s not quite the same as saying it only came up because the reporter asked about it.

 


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

Instead of paying for this tax, I’ll send the same amount of money to whoever is primarying Shuster.

cdog0613 on February 6, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Shuster rejected the idea of raising the nation’s 18.4 cents-per-gallon gasoline tax, now the primary method of paying for road, bridge and mass transit projects. Besides a mileage tax, he said other funding methods include higher taxes on energy exploration and bringing back corporate profits earned overseas.

With ideas like this the people of Pennsylvania should decide they need a new Congresscritter. This one is broken.

Happy Nomad on February 6, 2014 at 10:28 AM

…let the states keep their money and deal with their own transportation issues.

LOL, never in a million years!

Punchenko on February 6, 2014 at 10:30 AM

I’m still waiting for the $2 in spending cuts for every $1 of tax increases when Reagan was in office. No new taxes until the Congress keeps their word.

Wino on February 6, 2014 at 10:30 AM

With ideas like this the people of Pennsylvania should decide they need a new Congresscritter. This one is broken a politician.

Happy Nomad on February 6, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Politicians ain’t gonna fix what politicians broke.

gryphon202 on February 6, 2014 at 10:30 AM

a five year tax, yeah right. another Republican against big government…

burserker on February 6, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Like I said last night, 3rd party is looking better and better all the time. The GOP has mind-melded with the Dems.

Bitter Clinger on February 6, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Instead of paying for this tax, I’ll send the same amount of money to whoever is primarying Shuster.

cdog0613 on February 6, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Exactly.

Anyone who would propose such a thing DOES NOT BELONG in the Republican Party.

Want fascism? Statism? Communism?

There is a party for that!

They are called Democrats.

Any mileage tax WILL REQUIRE Big Brother Orwellian monitoring that will make the NSA green with envy.

ConstantineXI on February 6, 2014 at 10:31 AM

This is a bad idea when it comes from Democrats, and it’s worse when it comes from Republicans.

It’s been a long time since I could see the difference between a Democrat and a Republican.

Walter L. Newton on February 6, 2014 at 10:31 AM

You would think these bozos would have seen this coming with all the increased mpg on vehicles and especially with their precious electric cars. The thought of the government tracking us and the even greater disaster of the IRS being involved is simply terrifying. I rather they raise the gas tax.

major dad on February 6, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Vote him out ASAP.

californiacitizen on February 6, 2014 at 10:32 AM

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE!?

Optimus Prime on February 6, 2014 at 10:34 AM

Jeebus Crist, WTF.

I foresee a huge business in black market workaround devices if this bullshiite goes through.

“That’s right, Tax Man, I drove 2 miles last year, you should see my leg muscles. Here’s your 36 cents.”

Bishop on February 6, 2014 at 10:34 AM

This is why I do not call myself a Republican.

osborn4 on February 6, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Vote him out ASAP.

californiacitizen on February 6, 2014 at 10:32 AM

So they can vote someone else in to screw us over just as badly?

Brilliant./

gryphon202 on February 6, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Like I said last night, 3rd party is looking better and better all the time. The GOP has mind-melded with the Dems.

Bitter Clinger on February 6, 2014 at 10:30 AM

It’s not as bad as all that. Republicans are the gawky awkward girl in high school trying to be liked by the cool kids. They’ll say or do anything for acceptance. Paul Ryan even agreed to looting military pensions instead of cutting tax credits for illegals or other waste and fraud in the budget.

As to third party, Boehner need only continue to push amnesty for illegals to find out what that looks like. There would be a firestorm among rank-and-file Republicans no matter how many times he explains that we’re just not bright enough to understand why amnesty is such a good idea.

Happy Nomad on February 6, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Dude needs to go.

Alinsky on February 6, 2014 at 10:37 AM

But V7 Sport told me the GOP deserved my vote. And I must give it to them. There was a difference between the two parties he said.

HumpBot Salvation on February 6, 2014 at 10:37 AM

yep… he needs a tea party.

YesWeKen on February 6, 2014 at 10:37 AM

We should just hire a government employee to follow around everyone in the country to monitor what they eat, drink, mileage driven, hours worked, stuff bought, and then at the end of the year they tally it all up and come up with the additional taxes they need to pay.

The brilliance of this idea is that it will automatically cut unemployment as half the country will be watching the other half. Come on RINOs Republicans, this is what you should be selling right now! Forget debt ceilings, oil pipelines, cutting taxes, smaller government, and everything else – you need to get on this idea ahead of the curve to keep your party viable!!!

Ukiah on February 6, 2014 at 10:39 AM

oh yeaeth another Fred Upton. I don’t recognize the GOP anymore

DanMan on February 6, 2014 at 10:39 AM

Why didn’t they just roll highway maintenance funds into the Farm Bill? After all, roads are more important to agriculture than food stamps. And no one expects that money to come from anywhere. It just magically appears when Congress wants it.

Ammonite on February 6, 2014 at 10:39 AM

Agree, it’s a bad idea. Shame on the Republicans!

Elmer Stoup on February 6, 2014 at 10:39 AM

Great..just great. Another “genius” is exposed. Where do these people come from?

graywaiter on February 6, 2014 at 10:41 AM

In Illinois we had the toll roads put in that were going to go away when they were paid for. Still have the toll roads and a commission who each make over $100,000 a year.

Now Illinois has an increase in the income tax which Gov Quinn promised to sunset at the end of 2014 because it would get our finances in order.

The next thing the Congress will want is to implement something in each of our bodies to charge us for the amount of air we breath.

Paladin 2014 on February 6, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Garman is grinning The folks in his (& my) District are fumming

personhoodCO on February 6, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Jeebus Crist, WTF.

I foresee a huge business in black market workaround devices if this bullshiite goes through.

“That’s right, Tax Man, I drove 2 miles last year, you should see my leg muscles. Here’s your 36 cents.”

Bishop on February 6, 2014 at 10:34 AM

They’ll spend billions of dollars a year on a Secret Police who’s job will be to follow us around and record mileage.

There is no escaping the hunger of the Revenue Regime, Comrade.

ConstantineXI on February 6, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Ok, so how do we fund the roads then? Raise the gas tax? – the more you drive, the more you pay based on how much gas you use. Make more toll roads?- you pay for the roads you use. The mileage tax seems the worst idea of the three. If the roads where you are are like ours, they need something soon.

argusx2002 on February 6, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Vote this idiot out. My God, what has become of this nation?

Hill60 on February 6, 2014 at 10:43 AM

Want fascism? Statism? Communism?

There is a party for that!

They are called Democrats.

ConstantineXI on February 6, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Actually, there are two parties for that. And he is in one of them. We’re going to have to look elsewhere if we want something different.

besser tot als rot on February 6, 2014 at 10:44 AM

This is why I do not call myself a Republican.

osborn4 on February 6, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Conservatives are 40% of the population, by a 2-1 margin the largest self-identified political ideology.

We are LONG past the point of needing to dump the GOP-Whigs into the dustbin of history in favor of the American Conservative Party.

ConstantineXI on February 6, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Tax and spend.

That weasel word “infrastructure” is the giveaway, Shuster.

Time for him to get the boot back to Pennsylvania’s 9th district… wherever that is.

viking01 on February 6, 2014 at 10:45 AM

I think we need to tell HUCK that the word “RINO” does mean something and is still relevant.

Paladin 2014 on February 6, 2014 at 10:45 AM

It seems to me, and I’m a pretty simple fella mind you, but woudln’t it make more sense to allow for Oil exports and use a portion of those revenues to support the US Highway Bill ?

Von Kleist on February 6, 2014 at 10:46 AM

There are several theories on why the r’s are self destructing but I am starting to suspect that the theory that says ‘they are afraid of taking everything in the next elections is scaring them because they are embarrassed of their conservative base’ ,might not be far from the truth.

We have got to get rid of these big spending ,long term people who may have at one time been for less gov’t but now they are drunk on the power and (true) conservatives are a real threat to them.

libertygal on February 6, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Actually, there are two parties for that. And he is in one of them. We’re going to have to look elsewhere if we want something different.

besser tot als rot on February 6, 2014 at 10:44 AM

As I have often posted in comments over at Breitbart (I use the same user id there) the only difference between the two party establishments (I leave out the TEA Party and good Republicans like Cruz, Lee, Paul, etc) can be summed up as thus:

The Democrat Party Establishment policy will cause national collapse by Noon Monday

The GOP Establishment will announce they will PREVENT the collapse until Friday afternoon, but then a “Gang of” will form in the Senate that will “compromise” with the Democrats and agree to allowing the collapse on 1PM Monday instead of Noon like the Democrats wanted it and claim a GREAT VICTORY!

IE: Neither option supports “avoid the collapse completely” as an option.

ConstantineXI on February 6, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Tax and spend – borrow and spend. Both parties have the “spend” thing down cold.

Heibao on February 6, 2014 at 10:48 AM

According to Mr. Shuster’s bio, he’s been serving in Congress only since 2001.

I would expect this kind of nonsense — from a Republican, no less — coming from some entrenched politic that’s been living inside the Beltway for at least 30 years.

This is depressing, more than anything else.

mrsam on February 6, 2014 at 10:49 AM

It seems to me, and I’m a pretty simple fella mind you, but woudln’t it make more sense to allow for Oil exports and use a portion of those revenues to support the US Highway Bill ?

Von Kleist on February 6, 2014 at 10:46 AM

And wouldn’t it make even more sense to allow drilling for oil in places we hadn’t before, so that we have a surplus of oil to export?

gryphon202 on February 6, 2014 at 10:49 AM

This is why I do not call myself a Republican.

osborn4 on February 6, 2014 at 10:36 AM

My sentiments exactly…

PatriotRider on February 6, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Oh dear. Republicans. What shall we do? Hint: Tea Party.

chuckh on February 6, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Alright PA people, he’s one of yours.

It’s been 14 years for this guy.

Show him the exit.

budfox on February 6, 2014 at 10:51 AM

My first ever post shall be not just no but H E ddouble hockey sticks no!

Wisdom_of_Homer on February 6, 2014 at 10:52 AM

He’s in favor of Boehner’s ‘piecemeal approach’ to immigration reform. What a coincidence.

Wigglesworth on February 6, 2014 at 10:54 AM

His district is adjacent to mine, but he’s already heard from me. @RepBillShuster

forest on February 6, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Stupid Republicrat!

redware on February 6, 2014 at 10:55 AM

His district is adjacent to mine, but he’s already heard from me. @RepBillShuster

forest on February 6, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Is he related to the former Senator who was head of the Transportation committee for many years? IE: Bud Shuster?

ConstantineXI on February 6, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Perhaps the best idea would be to get the federal government out of the transportation maintenance business with the exception of those highways which are truly interstate, and let the states keep their money and deal with their own transportation issues.

Not perhaps, this is the best way to deal with transportation.

Also, let’s get rid of interstates in Hawaii please. Absolutely ridiculous and there is no interstate commerce defense for that spending. The likelihood of me ever recouping my federal tax dollars spent on those roads is next to nothing.

Interstates in Hawaii: ARE WE CRAZY. Yes, we are:

The Hawaii Omnibus Act, which President Eisenhower signed on July 12, 1960, removed the limitation in Federal-aid highway law that the Interstate System be designated only within the “continental United States” and provided for the regular apportionment of Interstate Construction (IC) funds to the State.

airupthere on February 6, 2014 at 10:56 AM

This clowns dad, Bud – a former congressman actually had Interstate 99 codified into law, even though it’s out of order in the number designation scheme.

I think it’s even named after him as well. What a swell deal.

cktheman on February 6, 2014 at 10:56 AM

There’s no telling the (D)s and the (R)s apart anymore, eh?

ElectricPhase on February 6, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Stick with the gas tax, as needed.

cimbri on February 6, 2014 at 10:57 AM

With friends like this, who needs democrats?

Lost in Jersey on February 6, 2014 at 10:58 AM

This is a bad idea when it comes from Democrats, and it’s worse when it comes from Republicans. Perhaps the best idea would be to get the federal government out of the transportation maintenance business with the exception of those highways which are truly interstate, and let the states keep their money and deal with their own transportation issues.

That would be the best idea, but when it comes to government, common sense and best ideas fail to gain traction over expanding the power, control, and reach of the federal government.

What we have here is just one more GOP Representative who is part of the problem and not part of the solution….a card carrying member of the ‘go along to get along’ caucus.

This November is time to vote out these Representatives who just can’t understand that we do not have a revenue problem when it comes to the federal government budget, we have a massive spending and waste problem.

Athos on February 6, 2014 at 10:58 AM

Test, test, test…this thing working?

ajd39211 on February 6, 2014 at 10:59 AM

The Stupid Party.

JimK on February 6, 2014 at 10:59 AM

There’s no telling the (D)s and the (R)s apart anymore, eh?

ElectricPhase on February 6, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Some of us have been saying that for years, though it gives so-called “conservatives” the vapors.

Oh, but Gryph! They’re still better than the Dems!

What’s your point?

gryphon202 on February 6, 2014 at 10:59 AM

There’s no telling the (D)s and the (R)s apart anymore, eh?

ElectricPhase on February 6, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Sure there is, homophobe, you glance down at the knife buried in your back and look for either a donkey or elephant symbol engraved in the handle.

Read a book sometime, bigot.

Bishop on February 6, 2014 at 10:59 AM

OMG – What is freakin WRONG with the people?

stenwin77 on February 6, 2014 at 10:59 AM

And to think that republicans wonder why conservatives view them as democrat lite! DUH!

What’s next, implanting a tracking chip into everyone so that government can always know where you are?

r27cj on February 6, 2014 at 11:00 AM

A “mileage tax” is a Democratic idea to punish “fly-over” country and encourage people to move to urban areas – where they do not have to travel a distance to get to work and will take public transportation to do so anyway.

It’s completely insane – but completely in keeping with the GOP cluelessness that has been prevalent in the party since Reagan left office.

HondaV65 on February 6, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Let this wanker know he is full of *hit.

https://shuster.house.gov

redguy on February 6, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Say! I have an idea. What if fuel taxes were actually used to repair the roads and bridges instead of making new and extraordinarily expensive capital projects of marginal utility and/or paying useless bureaucrats for doing nothing?

pat on February 6, 2014 at 11:01 AM

The Tea party working within the GOP has failed. The GOP is no different than it was in 2006. Unless it is worse. Much worse. Other than a few individual good guys, the GOP is less than worthless. And that’s not hyperbole.

When I think about Romney being president, I’m pretty sure that the GOP would have already passed amnesty and institutionalized Obamacare by “fixing” it with higher taxes and other minor tinkerings. In other words, more Republicans equals worse results.

besser tot als rot on February 6, 2014 at 11:01 AM

I have emailed,called,not just mine mind you and have written scorching notes to them on (postage paid donating envelopes) :-D love doing that by the way…
Every time I see johnny b.and p ryan say they are moving fwd on amnesty..well, determination is an understatement.

libertygal on February 6, 2014 at 11:03 AM

This is a horrendously bad idea. But it’s not going to go away.

The alleged reason for gasoline taxes is that it taxes the people who use the roads. And the more road you use (or, more correctly, the more gas you buy), the more tax you pay.

That way the users are paying for the upkeep.

Of course, when there are pickups that get 10 miles to the gallon, and subcompacts that get 40+, that idea gets a little skewed. But since the government wants to punish you for driving a gas guzzling vehicle, the complaints are somewhat muted.

However, the government still wants their money. And they don’t get any from electric vehicles. If gas guzzling cars go the way of the dodo, and electric vehicles become commonplace, who’s going to pay for the roads? And how does the government make the payers pay in a way that they can at least pretend is “fair”?

This is a horrendous idea, and people who support it deserve to be put in their place. But, unless you can come up with a different idea that accomplishes the same objectives, you’re eventually going to lose this argument.

To repeat, the objectives are:

1) Fund upkeep of the roads
2) Do this in a way that sounds fair to your average LIV. It doesn’t have to actually BE fair, just sound that way.

Chris of Rights on February 6, 2014 at 11:03 AM

Couldn’t I just tell my doctor how many miles I drive?

2Tru2Tru on February 6, 2014 at 11:05 AM

There’s no telling the (D)s and the (R)s apart anymore, eh?
ElectricPhase on February 6, 2014 at 10:57 AM

It sure seems that way. I’m starting to rethink my political identity.

Lucy43 on February 6, 2014 at 11:06 AM

“You! Car #PA31290-3! Slow down-you’re speeding again. And don’t think you’re going to stop at Five Guys; that’s the third time this week. You’ve reached your Coke Allowance for this period and the fries are too salty!”

ImmigrantsWife on February 6, 2014 at 11:06 AM

1) Fund upkeep of the roads

2) Do this in a way that sounds fair to your average LIV. It doesn’t have to actually BE fair, just sound that way.

Chris of Rights on February 6, 2014 at 11:03 AM

They have enough of our money already. It’s their job, literally, to prioritize spending of it.

besser tot als rot on February 6, 2014 at 11:06 AM

ConstantineXI on February 6, 2014 at 10:48 AM

yep, you nailed it. That farm bill is a perfect example. Food stamps up 60% since 2009 and a 1% cut is called a victory by the party that holds the purse.

DanMan on February 6, 2014 at 11:06 AM

As long as I can find a way to travel that the government cannot track, i will never comply

DRLIMO on February 6, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Total stupidity and detachment from constituencies crosses the aisle. What a moron and a traitor to conservative principles. Takes no qualifications to be in congress.

ultracon on February 6, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Wait a minute. Shuster from PA? Wasn’t his dad the Republican king of pork for years? Apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

Bitter Clinger on February 6, 2014 at 11:08 AM

However, the government still wants their money. And they don’t get any from electric vehicles.

Chris of Rights on February 6, 2014 at 11:03 AM

The government taxes everything, including electricity.

besser tot als rot on February 6, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Doesn’t the NSA / Stasi already track this?

viking01 on February 6, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Easy solution: Any interstate or international roads should be toll roads and maintained by the federal government. Use a 1 mile easement on either side of the border and the state funds the rest of the road as they see fit.

If the revenue generated from the toll is not enough to fund a particular project, then it is not worth doing the project.

We do not need federal funded roads that are the equivalent of the San Sebastián Railroad line.

airupthere on February 6, 2014 at 11:10 AM

What this does is royally screw people who live in rural or suburbs that are on the outskirts. Those people have to travel 30 to 40 miles just to get to work. I am a conservative who will vote Republican, but if they do this, I will NEVER vote Republican again, nor will many rural voters, which include many hispanics, who are sick and tired of being discriminated against.

lea on February 6, 2014 at 11:10 AM

It sure seems that way. I’m starting to rethink my political identity.

Lucy43 on February 6, 2014 at 11:06 AM

I’m too lazy to change my registration, but I’m voting Democrat for the first time ever in November. Yes, I live in a top 10 most competitive congressional district.

besser tot als rot on February 6, 2014 at 11:11 AM

House Republican pushing mileage tax to bolster Transportation funds

…correction!…”calls himself”…a republican!

JugEarsButtHurt on February 6, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Not surprising that such an idea comes out of Pennsylvania, which has some of the worst-maintained roads in the nation. Shuster’s constituents are probably complaining about their roads, and urging him to get Federal money from other states to fix them.

Pennsylvania is a bluish-purple state, where the major cities (Philadelphia and Pittsburgh) elect Democrats, and most of the suburbs and rural areas elect Republicans, both to Congress and to the State legislature. Most of the votes are in the cities, but most of the ROADS are in the rural areas, so that state transportation funds (PennDOT) tend to be spent on roads near the major cities, while rural roads are neglected and fall into disrepair.

Still, with the exception of roads that cross state lines, transportation issues should be funded by state or municipal taxes, not the Federal government.

As an interesting side-note, Pennsylvania’s state gasoline taxes are much higher than neighboring New Jersey, but state roads are better-maintained in New Jersey. Why is that?

Steve Z on February 6, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Wait a minute. Shuster from PA? Wasn’t his dad the Republican king of pork for years? Apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
Bitter Clinger on February 6, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Pennsylvania is responsible for the Federal government allowing states to operate tolls on Interstate Highways.

airupthere on February 6, 2014 at 11:11 AM

A certain percentage of the population are control freaks. This is about that as much as the money. Eventually for our fill in the blank ___________ anyone with authority fill in the blank ___________ will be able to read what your car has done for the past several years.

CW20 on February 6, 2014 at 11:12 AM

But certainly, let’s send this guy back to Congress in November, because… why again?

Midas on February 6, 2014 at 11:13 AM

…correction!…”calls himself”…a republican!

JugEarsButtHurt on February 6, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Nope. He’s a real Republican. We are the ones who have erroneously been calling ourselves Republicans.

besser tot als rot on February 6, 2014 at 11:13 AM

What if fuel taxes were actually used to repair the roads and bridges instead of making new and extraordinarily expensive capital projects of marginal utility and/or paying useless bureaucrats for doing nothing?

pat on February 6, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Congresscritters can’t proudly point to a pothole-free road and declare that they brought in the pork to make it possible. Put another way, road maintenance isn’t nearly as sexy to politicians as a new connecter road or something.

Happy Nomad on February 6, 2014 at 11:13 AM

The government taxes everything, including electricity.

besser tot als rot on February 6, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Yeah, but it’s harder to tie electricity use to miles traveled. Just because I use a lot of electricity, doesn’t mean I drive my Prius all over the place. Maybe I just like having my AC set at 60 degrees. Maybe I have a dozen big screen TVs.

Chris of Rights on February 6, 2014 at 11:15 AM

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE!?

Optimus Prime on February 6, 2014 at 10:34 AM

They are liberals, including most Republicans. When another Great Depression comes, they will still be pushing more taxes, regulation and spending. It’s all they know to do.

rickv404 on February 6, 2014 at 11:16 AM

“I’m pretty sure that the GOP would have already passed amnesty and institutionalized Obamacare by “fixing” it with higher taxes and other minor tinkerings.”

Unfortunately for this country, we’ll never get the chance to test your theory.

…besser richtig als falsch

Zander on February 6, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Sure there is, homophobe, you glance down at the knife buried in your back and look for either a donkey or elephant symbol engraved in the handle.

Bishop on February 6, 2014 at 10:59 AM

If it’s in your chest a D put it there. If it’s in your back, an R put it there.

Midas on February 6, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Instead of fixing a broken tax system, the idiots in charge want to make it even more complex and unworkable.

GarandFan on February 6, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Tea party reformers thought that Obama was the enemy…they were wrong.
Rep. Shuster is my Rep. He has as safe a seat as the PA Legislature could make for him. He is not conservative. He will do anything he can to further the corporate interests that support him. And every 2 years he sends me mailings telling me how conservative he is and that I have to send him money to fight against the “liberals”. The tea party failed because they didn’t recognize the GOP’s real problem until it was too late.

Samsara on February 6, 2014 at 11:21 AM

Yep…it’s basically one party now with both for higher taxes, “immigration reform”, and huge government solutions to everything someone sees as a problem.

TomJefferson on February 6, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Ed. It didn’t stop you from supporting T’Paw when he floated it as governor oh Minnesota. This ha been floating in statis GOPe circles for years now.

AH_C on February 6, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Time to make “mass transit” self sufficient.
I pay my way, mass transit users should be proud of paying their way too.

kugelfisher on February 6, 2014 at 11:29 AM

Wow, I am surprised this guy feels comfortable enough to float this in an election year…seems likely his opponent will seize on it…

Entrephil on February 6, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Instead of paying for this tax, I’ll send the same amount of money to whoever is primarying Shuster.

cdog0613 on February 6, 2014 at 10:25 AM
.

With ideas like this the people of Pennsylvania should decide they need a new Congresscritter. This one is broken.

Happy Nomad on February 6, 2014 at 10:28 AM

.
There’s no telling the (D)s and the (R)s apart anymore, eh?

ElectricPhase on February 6, 2014 at 10:57 AM
.

With friends like this, who needs democrats?

Lost in Jersey on February 6, 2014 at 10:58 AM

.
Wait a minute. Shuster from PA? Wasn’t his dad the Republican king of pork for years? Apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

Bitter Clinger on February 6, 2014 at 11:08 AM

.
Bitter Clinger beat me to it.

Bud Schuster was TRULY the “King Of Pork”. A real RINO.

Son is just following the leader.

Pennsylvania has way too many of these so-called “Republicans.”

Current Gov Tom Corbett is a good “case in point”.
.

listens2glenn on February 6, 2014 at 11:36 AM

**affixing tin foil covering to all vehicles***

D.Mockracy on February 6, 2014 at 11:36 AM

…let the states keep their money and deal with their own transportation issues.

Ed Morrissey on February 6, 2014 at 10:21 am

.
LOL, never in a million years!

Punchenko on February 6, 2014 at 10:30 AM

.
I respectfully disagree … It CAN be done.

listens2glenn on February 6, 2014 at 11:36 AM

In their hearts they are all Democrats….

albill on February 6, 2014 at 11:39 AM

let the states keep their money and deal with their own transportation issues

From each according to its ability, to each according to its need.

MarxMyWords on February 6, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Comment pages: 1 2