MacIver Institute
Press Release

MacIver Institute Joins Nationwide Conservative Coalition: Promote Fiscal Responsibility in Upcoming Transportation and Infrastructure Spending

The letter calls on members of Congress to avoid the wasteful spending of the Obama administration.

By - May 11th, 2017 10:37 am
Donald Trump. Photo from whitehouse.gov.

Donald Trump. Photo from whitehouse.gov.

[Madison, Wis…] The Trump administration is widely expected to unveil a far-reaching infrastructure proposal in the near future. In anticipation of President Trump‘s proposal, more than 50 organizations from around the country, led by Americans for Prosperity, sent a letter to Congress today urging fiscal responsibility. The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy signed onto the letter.

The letter calls on members of Congress to avoid the wasteful spending of the Obama administration, maximize taxpayer dollars in any new infrastructure spending, and use the opportunity to implement long-overdue reforms that will reduce bureaucracy and cut costly red tape.

The full letter follows.

On behalf of our organizations and the millions of Americans we represent, we write to encourage you to prioritize fiscal responsibility while addressing the nation’s infrastructure needs. Previous transportation spending policies shepherded by the Obama administration — the 2009 “stimulus” and all its attendant boondoggles — were chock-full of waste and pet projects and made the nation’s fiscal problems worse. American families cannot afford to repeat the failed mistakes of the past.

Forthcoming transportation plans should be an opportunity for Congress and the Trump administration to further relieve the economy from bureaucratic and regulatory hurdles while maximizing taxpayer dollars. Here’s how:

Reform environmental review processes. Lengthy and often duplicative environmental impact studies increase project costs and drag project timelines. Possible reforms could include the removal of greenhouse gas emissions from the review process and limiting the scope and application of the National Environmental Policy Act as well as other planning and analysis mandates. Doing so would save time and reallocate limited tax dollars from paperwork and red tape to asphalt and concrete.

Repeal draconian labor regulations. Overturning President Barack Obama‘s executive order requiring federal contractors to use Project Labor Agreements on federally-funded projects and repealing the Davis-Bacon wage mandate that drives up project costs by 22 percent are two great places to start. Heritage Foundation research shows that repealing Davis-Bacon and reinvesting the funds back into infrastructure would add over 160,000 construction jobs to the economy.

Prioritize transportation dollars on core infrastructure projects. A growing percentage of federal transportation spending — now up to 25 percent of all spending — is going to non-highway projects, diverting these dollars from their ostensible purpose of building roads and bridges. Infrastructure dollars should go toward core projects — not on ancillary projects like highway beautification and public transit.

Empower the states. States, localities, and the private sector understand local needs better than Washington bureaucrats. Local policymakers should have the flexibility to manage projects reflecting local priorities and manage their funding. Federal policymakers can get out of the way by removing existing federal barriers to state-based funding and financing.

Fully pay for projects. The spirit of President Trump’s first budget blueprint, the so-called “skinny budget” that cuts non-defense discretionary spending, should be applied to future transportation spending initiatives. Any new spending should be offset with spending cuts, not tax increases nor budget gimmicks.

Seek spending reforms instead of new funding sources. Two concerning ideas circulating on Capitol Hill include creating a national infrastructure bank and using new revenues from corporate income repatriated from abroad. Congress should be cautious of both. The first would lead to more bureaucracy and subsidies for the politically- connected at taxpayers’ expense, and the second has little to do with transportation issues and instead is a symptom of our broken federal tax code that should be addressed in the context of comprehensive tax reform.

We look forward to working with you in promoting responsibility in upcoming transportation and infrastructure initiatives. Keeping these conservative principles in mind as you craft plan details will improve our nation’s infrastructure and create jobs while protecting taxpayers. Thank you for your consideration.

Mentioned in This Press Release

Recent Press Releases by MacIver Institute

MacIver Institute

Car Buyers Face Fewer Choices, Higher Prices Unless Trump Reforms CAFE Mandate

If unchanged, the ultimate impact of these policies will be higher vehicle prices and fewer choices for consumers.

MacIver Institute

Education Activists Turn To Misinformation To Distort GOP Budget

Public education activists should be honest about the large increase and they should be grateful to taxpayers for the hard-earned dollars provided to fund it

MacIver Institute Applauds President Trump’s Efforts To Improve Health Care Price Transparency

"When patients don’t know what they will be paying for a procedure, whether through insurance or out-of-pocket, there is no downward pressure on prices that is usually part of a healthy market."

2 thoughts on “MacIver Institute Joins Nationwide Conservative Coalition: Promote Fiscal Responsibility in Upcoming Transportation and Infrastructure Spending”

  1. sharon pendleton says:

    I have never looked at MacIver’s agenda before, but the idea that “public transit” is not valid infrastructure spending underlines how FAR RIGHT this thinking goes. If there is one thing needed throughout the US it is better public transit.

  2. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    MacIver = Bradley Foundation mouthpiece. Never forget it.

    You know the same Bradley’s who have a prime building near Milwaukee’s lakefront, but pays $0 in property taxes because they are a “charitable foundation.”

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us