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Highway tax dollars for ‘livable communities’

By David Tanner
staff writer


What exactly are “livable communities” and how much do they cost? If you’re a highway user, you could begin paying soon for livable communities even if it’s not clear where the money would go.

The Obama administration is proposing to create a new Office of Livable Communities and fund it with $500 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The concept is part of a $3.8 trillion federal budget request that was issued on Feb. 1.

Truckers who operate just 4 percent of the registered vehicles on the roadways – but who pay a 36 percent share of the bill for highways and transportation through taxes and fees – deserve to know where the money for “livable communities” will go, OOIDA leadership says.

“We certainly have some concern with it because we believe there could be a serious diversion of highway user dollars to these so-called livable communities and this Office of Livable Communities,” said OOIDA Director of Legislative Affairs Mike Joyce.

“We’re not sure what the benefits truly will be for America’s highway users and America’s truckers.”

Joyce said the fear is that there is no clear definition.

“And so it ends up at the discretion of the secretary of transportation and the folks that are running that office as to how they want to spend that money,” he said. “That’s a very serious concern.” LL