DC Velocity Q&A features Jim Burnley

2 min

Venable Legislative and Government Affairs partner and former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Jim Burnley was featured in a Q&A in the April 19, 2010 edition of DC Velocity. Burnley spoke with the publication about the Department of Transportation and his stand on key transport and infrastructure issues.

When asked about highway funding reauthorization, Burnley said that it will be especially difficult for the Obama administration and Congress to agree on a solution to the trust fund crisis if the political environment holds in November and more Republicans, who are skeptical of higher taxes of any kind, occupy both Houses.

"What worries me is that the whole concept of the trust fund is breaking down. You can't make the argument with a straight face that the trust fund should be spent just on transportation programs and that it should be walled off from the appropriations process while at the same time getting huge sums of money from general revenues," said Burnley. "That is a corrosive process. By 2013, we could find the whole notion of the trust fund obsolete."

On the controversial "cap and trade" provision of environmental legislation, Burnley commented that the real inequity was that about one-third of revenues were going to come from transportation, but not a dime of that money would go to the Highway Trust Fund.

"Cap and trade is nothing more than a huge floating excise tax increase," said Burnley. "That said, I think Congress will continue to work on incentives to drive us toward greater energy independence."

According to the article, "cap and trade" has been effectively killed following the election of Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate.