Just to respond to Laurence Vance’s libertarian argument against the Federal Highway System. The reason President Dwight Eisenhower (no one’s Socialist) and Democrats as well as Republicans in Congress created the FHS in the 1950s was because the United States is exactly that. One country and to drive from one end to the other like truckers in Dallas who have to get products to Atlanta within days you need roads and highways that connect to each other from state to state. You need a Federal authority to handle those issues so those projects get done.
The states have their highways that are used by their drivers in their states and so do the counties. But you need Federal highways to get from state to state. But as far as the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ as it relates to our American highways. That is real I just haven’t heard it put that way yet, but according to the U.S. Core of Engineers (not Socialists) we have over a trillion-dollar deficit when it comes to infrastructure in this country. As far as repairs that need to be done and projects that need to be built that aren’t getting done. Which is money that is not going into the economy. Contracts that aren’t going to construction companies and workers that aren’t being hired to complete these projects. Which also leaves our roads and bridges less safer than they should be.
The way you correct this problem is to do one of the few things that Congress is supposed to do in the first place. And that is pass a highway bill and fix the financing in the Highway Trust Fund. Which until the Tea Party took control of the House of Representatives in 2011 was never that difficult of task for Congress to accomplish. Because senators and representatives in both parties understood the importance of the Highway Trust Fund. As well as how good of a tool it was in getting reelected. By getting money out of Washington and back home to their state or district to fund highways and bridges, as well as other infrastructure.
To fund the Highway Trust Fund again is fairly simple. You can raise the gas tax, tax oil, tax pollution, tax alcohol, tax tobacco, tax things that people don’t need that are more luxury items that they will still pay for because they love those things. And put that money into our infrastructure. Or you could do something more radical that I think a real Libertarian would like or at least not hate. But that is more of a New Democrat liberal idea which would be to create an independent National Infrastructure Bank. Which would fund and prioritize our infrastructure projects and finance them by bringing in investors from the private sector that would put up the money for the projects and get that money back plus profit from the users of the projects. Which is an idea that deserves a post of its own.