If the Kochs had their way, this is how all public transit would look.
The Kochs, et al., pretend to care about low-income Americans in their attack on a proposal to raise the gasoline tax.
Angie Schmitt at StreetsBlog USA writes:
[Wednesday], a coalition of 50 groups, several funded by the Koch brothers, sent a letter to Congress arguing that the way to fix federal transportation funding is to cut the small portion that goes to walking, biking, and transit [PDF]. The signatories do not want Congress to even think about raising the gas tax, which has been steadily eaten away by inflation since 1993.
The coalition membership includes many stalwarts of the Koch network, including Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Partners, and the Club for Growth. The Koch brothers recently went public with plans to spend nearly $900 million on the 2016 elections.
The letter notes that "people struggling through stagnant wages and increased cost of living have been given some relief with falling gas prices. […] Congress should embrace these lower prices, not confiscate the savings, increase costs, and weaken growth potential." Wow. Sympathy for the pains of working class, it would seem. But then they blow it: "In addition, Davis-Bacon wage rules and other burdensome regulations needlessly add time and cost to transportation infrastructure projects."
The 84-year-old Davis-Bacon Act, passed under a Republican Congress with a Republican president in office, requires that workers hired for projects being built with public money get paid "prevailing wages." Without it, stagnant wages are bolstered. But then, of course, what the Kochs and their cronies are concerned about has nothing to do with the wages of working Americans. Theirs is a pure no-higher-taxes stance.
Schmitt gets to the point:
The billionaire-friendly coalition is trying to play the populist card. Raising the gas tax to pay for roads, they say, is “regressive” because poor people will pay more than rich people if the gas tax is increased. But eliminating all funding for transit, biking, and walking, which people who can’t afford a car rely on? Not a problem to these guys.
The federal gasoline tax has been 18.4 cents for 22 years and has lost 62 percent of its buying power in that period. There are ways to remedy the problem higher taxes on gasoline would create for lower-income Americans. But you can be sure the organizations that signed this letter would still urge a vote against a rise in the gas tax. Their objective has nothing to do with any faux-populist argument.
Comments are closed on this story.