Road issues deserve more attention
1. I have no problem at all with the idea of using American energy production to pay for repairing our crumbling roads and bridges. (Although I do question how the tax-break-addicted GOP will actually collect taxes to pay for what they propose.) Still, at a basic level, I like the idea of America using its natural resources for the benefit of Americans. At first glance, states like Ohio and Kentucky could benefit a lot from this plan. So I'm ready to hear more about this proposal. I'm OK with oil shale production. I'm OK with offshore drilling (However, I do NOT think Obama is currently as restrictive on this front as the GOP would have us believe.). I'm neutral on the ANWR issue. As a compromise with the greens, I would easily agree to leave ANWR alone in return for the greens staying out of the way of other parts of this plan.
2. I completely agree with the GOP on the idea of cleaning up highway appropriations so that they actually pay for highways. Go ahead and slash earmarks. Go ahead and stop using gas-tax money for sidewalks, bike paths, rail projects and street lights. If the urbanistas want funding for "alternative" modes of transit, then come up with alternative means of paying for them.
3. I like the idea of concurrent agency review versus end-to-end reviews. If concurrent review is not happening, then at least some waste and delay is. Such red tape should be slashed. However, I don't fully trust the GOP to decide which aspects of the "red tape" are truly wasteful. For example, if we are serious about more offshore oil drilling, more fracking, etc, then I say we need a VERY strong EPA to mind the store. I cannot support this GOP plan if it also weakens the EPA --and we've heard a lot of whining from Big Energy about the EPA. I say we need Big Government to balance off the known historic abuses and the potential future abuses of unrestrained Big Energy. But as long as the EPA stays strong, I can support giving Big Energy more room to roam.
4. Sadly, what I've seen of the GOP proposal does not come close to explaining how lifting "wasteful" regulations will generate the billions in public funds needed to make a serious dent in our bad-road backlog. In theory, more energy production would spin off more tax revenue -- but our current tax system has made it possible for very, very large corporations to report big profits to shareholders yet claim the owe literally zero taxes to the feds. If we DO let more fracking happen, then we better cash in big time in terms of tax revenues to cover public needs. The cynic in me predicts that Big Energy is poised to collect vast tax breaks in this proposal.
Obama still has my vote. Congress? State-county-local? Hmmm.
I think the Dems face a challenge getting out in front of the GOP on the road issue. I think the Dems are so beholden to the far left greens -- who love big city trains and hate cars and suburbia -- that the party will not be able to find a compromise on this proposal. (Especially in an election year.) So, like many political topics, there will be far more debate than action.
I do know this issue isn't enough to make me vote for Romney. I apply vastly different standards in what I expect from a president versus what I want from Congress. For me, Romney loses on so many fronts to Obama, that Romney cannot win my vote.
However, my votes for state and congressional reps remain quite undecided. For example, If I were sitting in Butler County, Boehner would have just scored big points in my mind for backing this road-energy-jobs idea. If I were living where I like to go fishing in southeast Ohio, I'd be promising to name my children after the sponsor of this bill.
However, I live just outside the borders of Cincinnati. And even here, nitty gritty stuff like fixing our roads will carry a LOT of weight for me. So we shall see who says what.
Drivers remain unsatisfied
By the way, if anybody has read this deep into this comment, when I went shopping Saturday I counted no less than 20 potholes and road buckles at and near the busy intersection of Paxton and Marburg. This shattered road surface has remained in terrible shape for an unknown number of years. Years. Not months. This is NOT routine winter pothole stuff. I find it unacceptable that such a busy intersection can go so completely untended for so long.
But my one voice won't influence much, will it? So if you also have a street complaint in Cincinnati, try this link. Maybe multiple complaints will prompt some action.