Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Tuesday that the $10.9 billion highway bill that was approved by lawmakers last week is “totally inadequate,” the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports.
Testifying before a joint legislative study committee holding the first of a series of planned meetings, LaHood blasted Congress for passing a short-term bailout of the federal Highway Trust Fund last week rather than stepping up with a long-term reauthorization bill. The bill cobbled together by congressional leaders will prop up the fund with $10.9 billion, enough to last through next May.
“That is totally inadequate for any kind of planning or vision,” LaHood said during a news conference following his testimony.
LaHood, a former Republican congressman from Illinois, stepped down from the Obama administration after the president’s first term. This year, he became co-chairman of Building America’s Future, a bipartisan infrastructure advocacy group founded in 2008 by then-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, then-Pennsylvania Gov.Ed Rendell and then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The group is recommending a 10-cents-a-gallon increase in the federal gasoline tax.
“If that had been done in 1993, the last time the gas tax was raised, we probably wouldn’t be having this debate,” LaHood said.
However, LaHood said he sees no political will in Congress to increase the gasoline tax.