The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Commission recently came out with recommendations to increase the federal fuel tax by over 200%.  However, the report is worse than that, and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will have a hearing on this issue tomorrow.

The Commission proposes establishing a new bureaucracy for our transportation system, including a new commission of ten appointed officials serving 6 year terms called the National Surface Transportation Commission. This new commission would be given tax and spending powers to execute the national surface transportation plan and Congress would have a mere 60 days to “veto” the NASTRAC proposal, or else the proposal would become law.  This element alone likely renders the entire scheme unconstitutional.

The commission also recommends that Amtrak get a spending increase from $1 billion to $8 billion a year, an increase of over 700%. This proposal includes private freight railroad, which is not currently federally funded, and allows Amtrak to cut into highway trust fund money. Motorists may not be pleased to know that their gas taxes will go to subsidize Amtrak, considering transit’s share of passenger transportation is less than 2 percent of the market, and 70 percent of America’s transit riders live in just seven metropolitan areas.