McGuigan 11 – Editor of the Free Congress Family, Law & Democracy Report and the author of The Politics of Direct Democracy (Patrick B., 07/29, “CapitolBeakOK: Transportation Federalism -- and Flexibility -- Proposed in New Bill from Coburn, Lankford,” http://lankford.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=756&Itemid=100023)
In his statement, sent to CapitolBeatOK, Sen. Coburn said, “Washington’s addiction to spending has bankrupted the Highway Trust Fund. For years, lower-priority projects like earmarks have crowded out important priorities in our states, such as repairing crumbling roads and bridges. “Instead of burdening states and micromanaging local transportation decisions from Washington, stateslike Oklahoma should be free to choose how their transportation dollars are spent. I have no doubt that Oklahoma’s Transportation Director Gary Ridley will do a much better job deciding how Oklahoma’s transportation dollars are spent than bureaucrats and politicians in Washington.” Lankford applauded Coburn's leadership in the matter, observing, “This has been one of my top priorities since coming to Congress, and I’m happy to join Senator Coburn in this effort. This bill is a giant step for states by increasing transportation flexibility while improving efficiency. “By allowing states to opt-out of the federal bureaucracy, they will be able to take more control of their own resources. It will free Oklahoma to keep our own federal gas taxes and to fund new projects at our own discretion.” Joel Kintsel, executive vice president at OCPA, told CapitolBeatOK, "I am so proud of the leadership shown by Senator Coburn and Congressman Lankford. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a broader effort by Congress to return to federalism and withdraw from areas of activity rightfully belonging to the States.” Sen. McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee for president, said, “As a Federalist, I have long advocated that states should retain the right to keep the revenue from gas taxes paid by drivers in their own state. This bill would allow for this to happen and prevent Arizonans from returning their hard earned money to Washington. Arizonans have always received 95 cents or less for every dollar they pay federal gas taxes. This continues to be unacceptable, and for that reason I am a proud supported of the State Highway Flexibility Act.” Sen. Vitter asserted, “It’s very apparent how badly Congress can mismanage tax dollars, especially the Highway Trust fund which has needed to be bailed out three times since 2008. The states know their transportation needs better than Congress, so let’s put them in the driver’s seat to manage their own gas tax.” Hatch contended, “The federal government’s one-size-fits all transportation policies and mandates are wasting billions of taxpayer dollars and causing inexcusable delays in the construction of highways, bridges and roadsin Utah and across the nation.