Venable partner Jim Burnley's blog responses to two major transportation issues are currently featured on the National Journal's "Transportation Experts Blog."
Burnley, who served as Secretary of Transportation during the Reagan administration, was recently invited by the publication to participate as an expert commentator on transportation issues.
Burnley's February 17, 2009 response to proposed cap and trade legislation for the transportation industry makes a strong argument against using cap and trade as a component of climate change legislation.
Burnley argues that such a tax would burden an already stressed economy and would not significantly reduce greenhouse emissions. Burnley also notes that the transportation community is already working to meet regulations to increase fuel efficiency standards for their products.
Burnley suggests that if cap and trade legislation is passed, the transportation community should insist that fuel chain allowances trace how a fuel is used and preserve the user-pay approach for deposits to the Highway and Aviation Trust Funds.
"While existing fuel taxes may also continue, it is very difficult to imagine that Congress will substantially increase those taxes, on top of the cap and trade system's taxes," said Burnley. "If cap and trade is enacted without provisions requiring that transportation generated revenues be deposited into the transportation trust funds, then the programs funded out of those trust funds will be permanently crippled."
In a February 11, 2009 commentary, Burnley opposes an increase in fuel taxes to fund a 21st century transportation system, especially when the revenue generated from these taxes aren't dedicated specifically for transportation needs.
"Transportation generated revenues in a cap and trade system should be dedicated to transportation programs. That should be our mantra; and our time, energy and resources should be entirely dedicated to that goal," said Burnley.