Sunday Night time Owls: Substitute the gasoline tax with one thing that is sensible within the 21st century

Pete Buttigieg, now the 19th Secretary of Transportation, shakes hands with Joe Biden following the presidential debate on October 15, 2019.

Night Owls is an open thread that appears seven days a week on Daily Kos.

Gabrielle Gurley at The American Prospect writes:The long and winding road to replacing the gas tax. Can Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg convince Congress that road user fees are the next big revenue?

Pete Buttigieg signed up for a soft landing with the Department of Transportation. There were no Betsy DeVos-like moments during the Rhodes Scholar’s confirmation hearing. “You know what the hell you’re talking about,” enthused Senator Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, towards the end of the former South Bend mayor’s two and a half hour magic offensive. That offensive has also led Buttigieg to late night talk shows and celebrity newsmaker programs complaining about the dire state of American infrastructure and the Biden administration’s plans.

However, feel-good television eliminates the problems of a sector collapsing under the weight of inactivity of the early 21st century. There’s an amazing lack of urgency in Congress about the virtual bankruptcy of the Highway Trust Fund, which backs roads and public transportation with fuel taxes that were last raised in 1993 and are not tied to inflation. President Biden and Secretary Buttigieg are on hand to develop interim measures to combat falling returns on gas taxes as cars become more economical and electrification looms – or to think of something better.

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