Bringing Transportation Decisions Closer to the People: Why States and Localities Should Have More Control
by Matthew Grinney, Emily Goff
The Heritage Foundation
April 09, 2014
America’s surface transportation system is in need of reform. In a country as large and diverse as the United States, it is state and local officials—not remote federal authorities—who have the knowledge required to address their own communities’ transportation concerns. Yet, burdensome federal regulations and restrictions on Highway Trust Fund spending hinder states’ ability to carry out cost-effective highway, road, and bridge improvement projects. Some Members of Congress even want to increase the centralization of transportation regulation, based on a misunderstanding of the division of powers in the Constitution. The Constitution creates a federal government to deal with national issues while reserving to the state and local governments authority over all other public affairs. As Congress considers the 2014 reauthorization of the current highway bill, it should take concrete steps to give state and local governments control and flexibility to build their own transportation projects.