Skip to content
CityLab
Government

Hey, Congress, Oregon Has Your Long-Term Highway Funding Solution Right Here

The state has released a brief policy history of its pay-per-mile program.
relates to Hey, Congress, Oregon Has Your Long-Term Highway Funding Solution Right Here
Todd Lappin/Flickr

We've seen this movie before, where Congress heads straight toward a transportation funding cliff it totally saw coming, so we know that lawmakers will find some awkward-and-unnecessarily-dramatic way to stop at the edge. That's great for all the jobs spared in the short term, but bad for the hope of learning any long-term lessons. Because the real danger is not this fiscal cliff, but the massive funding sinkhole coming to take car and cliff alike; here's Senator Orrin Hatch, via The Hill:

In case you're new here, the recurring problem in federal transportation funding is the increasingly puny power of the gas tax that populates the Highway Trust Fund. That tax hasn't moved since 1993 despite inflation, a reduction in driving mileage, a massive spike in construction costs, and increased fuel efficiency, among other nationwide changes. The fund is fundamentally broken and desperate for a replacement instead of a quick fix.