More pork with gas taxes, this time for "Office of livable communities"

Link to article here. This publication is geared for truckers, but it reveals $500 million in further diversions of our gas taxes that have nothing to do with transportation.

Highway tax dollars for ‘livable communities’
Landline Magazine
February 2, 2010

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 administration included the concept as part of a $3.8 trillion federal budget request issued Monday, Feb. 1. The budget request includes $78.8 billion for the U.S. Department of Transportation of which $500 million would be used to fund and staff the new office.

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,” OOIDA Director of Legislative Affairs Mike Joyce told Land Line Now on Sirius XM.

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

Without a clear intention for the money, the government is leaving no choice but for the highway user to be skeptical, Joyce says.

“I don’t think anybody at DOT or from the Congress has clearly defined what livable communities are,” Joyce said.

“The fear is that there is no definition, that there are no true parameters to what livable communities are and how money can be spent on livable communities. … 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. That’s a very serious concern.”