How bad is the proposal by House Republican leaders to fix the Highway Trust Fund’s shortfall by eliminating Saturday mail service? Consider this: 26 unions representing hundreds of thousands of transportation workers today announced their vociferous opposition to the plan.
To be sure these unions believe that stabilizing the Highway Trust Fund is a major priority – in fact, many represent members whose jobs are linked to fixing this funding crisis. But they know a scam when they see one. They know it’s a misguided idea that is more about ideology than solving problems; it will do nothing to solve our surface transportation funding needs – but will do much harm to Postal Service jobs and customers.
Of course, no one should be surprised by the so-called Highway Trust Fund Offset, because it’s straight out of the cynical playbook (too many “messaging bills and too few solutions) favored by too many politicians. And this latest proposal is really about robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Saturday mail service, which provides essential service to tens of millions of consumers and businesses while sustaining 80,000 middle-class jobs, would be slashed in order to prevent the Highway Trust Fund from running out of money. Republican Leaders argue that the “savings” from the reduction in postal service would keep the fund solvent – a false assertion since the resulting decreases in postal revenues could cancel out any savings.
Our good friend Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who as Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has had many sleepless nights worrying about this funding crisis, said it best: “This idea is a jobs killer … It is unworkable, makes no sense and ignores the huge infrastructure needs we face, as so many bridges and roads are in grave disrepair.”
Seeking to eliminate Saturday delivery would only serve to delay and distract policy makers from considering legitimate proposals that are necessary to avoid a summer default. As the unions state in their letter, “We should not have to choose between transit systems and decent highways and six-day delivery from the Postal Service. Slowing mail delivery and weakening the Postal Service will not solve our infrastructure crisis.”
It’s time to get serious about investing in the nation’s critical transportation needs.
The Boehner-Cantor-McCarthy plan is nothing more than a gimmick we cannot afford.