Peters'' Flawed Policy

Peters'' Flawed Policy

Copyright 2008, Traffic World, Inc.

Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters makes herself part of the problem rather than being part of the solution to our nation''s transportation infrastructure problems.

In her intemperate condemnation of just one part of the report of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Commission, she focuses on the recommendation that gasoline taxes be increased to pay for new highways while ignoring the rest of the report''s discussion of the problems and solutions the commission considered.

The gasoline tax was only one part of a much broader list of ways to fund needed infrastructure, some of which Ms. Peters even has supported in the past. In condemning the fuel tax proposal, Ms. Peters demonstrated loyalty to the president, who appointed her by supporting his "no new taxes" mantra.

Ms. Peters also calls for a new national transportation policy and condemns what she calls a proposal for a new federal bureaucracy. Perhaps Ms. Peters should be reminded that the Department of Transportation was created more than 40 years ago specifically to develop a national transportation policy. None of her predecessors succeeded in doing that. Nor has she. While the first few secretaries at least tried, more recent secretaries - including Ms. Peters - didn''t even do that.

Transportation issues historically have been non-partisan. That also is its curse. Neither the Republican nor Democratic parties - nor any of their candidates - has said anything about infrastructure issues, and if history is any kind of teacher, none will between now and Nov. 4. Ms. Peters, however, shills shamelessly for the president''s very single-minded policy, which only diminishes her own credibility.

The bureaucracy she condemns already exists. It''s called DOT Office of the Secretary.

Lawrence H. Kaufman

Golden, Colo.