By Rod Nofziger
OOIDA director of government affairs
You have a garden that is in dire need of watering, a spigot several yards away, and an old bucket with holes in it. On every trip from the spigot to the garden a good amount of water escapes from your bucket, leaving only a small portion for the garden by the time you get there.
Does it make any sense to keep filling that old bucket with water time after time, struggling to get a fraction of it to the garden? No, it makes a hell of a lot more sense to plug the holes in the bucket before returning to the spigot.
Overall, I think that the recent public debates about how to fund, maintain and expand highways in the United States has been a step in the right direction.
For too long our nation’s roadways have not received adequate attention from politicians or the public. After all, those roads have provided the U.S. with a level of prosperity and personal freedom that is envied throughout the world.
However, it truly amazes me that with all of the political talk about the need to increase investments into our infrastructure and the groans about cash-strapped state governments – as well as the dwindling federal Highway Trust Fund – so little time has been dedicated to talking about reforming how our transportation dollars are already being spent.
Before our local, state and federal officials proclaim a need for increasing fuel taxes, expanding tolling or selling off our highways, it is their obligation to make better use of existing tax dollars.
That money is supposed to be going toward maintaining, expanding or constructing roads, yet so often gets spent elsewhere or is simply wasted.
Before we consider putting more water in that old bucket, let’s plug the holes or get a new one. LL