Okay, let me see if I've got this straight. According to a recent Government Accountability Office report, Indiana's relative share of federal highway money is lower than almost every other state over the period 2005-2009, from the most recent highway bill.
Also to consider is twenty-two states got more back than they paid in, and Indiana seems to be getting double-screwed. Not only are we near the bottom overall, but also at the top of states getting ripped off to boot.
The state of Indiana got back 91.3% of the share it contributed to the highway trust fund. When you add in general fund revenue used by Congress to supplement the highway funds, Indiana actually gets $1.07 for every $1 paid in taxes. At least, that's one formula, and that's also the problem. There are a million different ways to tell you the money is being wasted via the process.
If Indiana is only getting ninety-one cents of every dollar it pays in back, but receives sixteen cents thanks to an appropriation of general fund revenue, why not let Indiana keep its tax revenue (in so far as road repair), and the federal government can use that leftover seven cents to help out one of the twenty-two states that apparently need the help the most? How about doing the same for the other twenty-seven states?
Then again, I could reflect on the state of Indiana being 100% responsible for maintaining the now-closed Sherman Minton Bridge, but only about 38% responsible for the cost of fixing it. I'm not reflecting on that. I'm just saying I could.
Naturally, the GAO recommends the same old business. That is to say, absolutely nothing our do-nothing Congress will give a second thought if they even bothered hearing it in the first place.
The recommendations include Congress better defining the highway program's goals, and the federal government's role in that program. This means state and local governments assuming more responsibility over road projects the federal government should have no interest in.
That's right- state and local governments handling the issues and the federal government concentrating on other matters. Let highway money be issued from Congress on a case-by-case basis to the states that need it, rather than assuming the problem has a national scope and related cost that will automatically repeat year after year.
But like I said, no matter how much sense it makes, the Government Accountability Office is just like the rest of us on this- stuck on the side of the road holding a thumb out...
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