Super Stupid Transportation

John Kasich’s Latest Brain-Buster: Defund the Federal Highway System

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

Several months ago a small group of congressional Republicans proposed that we should actually defund the interstate highway system rather than increase the gas tax which hasn't been increased since 1993.

Senator Mike Lee of Utah called for returning control of federal highways and transit programs to states while also calling for gradually repealing the federal gas tax which is used to pay for these programs.

Ohio governor and Republican presidential candidate John Kasich appeared at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire yesterday where he called for doing exactly that.

"Here's what i'm going to do: I'm going to ship transportation [and] infrastructure back to the states," he said during a Thursday town hall event in Hanover, N.H. that was broadcast Friday morning on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"Here's how it works in Washington: You take your gas money, you send it to Washington, the politicians divide it up, come up with a bunch of pork and then they send less back to us," Kasich continued. "What do we need them to send it for? Let's just keep here in New Hampshire and in Ohio and we can tax ourselves and pay for our roads."

The state legislature of Ohio may not agree with Kasich's call for passing new state taxes to cover the cost of highways in the state, but even if the legislature did agree that leaves 49 other states and I can think of more than a few where there's no chance in hell they would pass new state taxes.

I've been over this before, but there are several states where the legislature and governor's office cannot even be bothered to fund education at a level that is constitutional because doing so would require raising taxes or rolling back tax cuts.

Even in northern wealthy states such as Wisconsin, the state government has passed massive spending cuts for healthcare and education to finance tax cuts for the rich. How are you going to the convince these states to pass new state taxes to cover the entire cost of maintaining existing federal highways and transit programs let alone expanding them?

Maybe an extremely large, liberal and wealthy state like New York or California has the political will to pass new taxes and manage all of the infrastructure in the state, but how does Kansas or Louisiana accomplish that? Louisiana can barely keep the public university system funded. Alabama just closed nearly all of the state's DMV offices. How is Alabama going to fund the highway system?

They can't. From healthcare to infrastructure, these states and many others depend on subsidies from wealthier states that comes in the form of federal funding.

It's not going to happen. It's a ridiculous idea.

I don't know if Kasich is pandering or if he's really as clueless as he appears to be in this case.