White House photo
Bush criticizes lawmakers' priorities

With the recent Minnesota bridge collapse focusing increased attention on the state of the country's infrastructure, President Bush has said he doesn't support increasing the federal gasoline tax to fund bridge repairs.

Bush told reporters Aug. 9 that "before we raise taxes which could affect economic growth, I would strongly urge the Congress to examine how they set priorities."

The President's comments came the day after House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D–Minn.) proposed a new trust fund to help fix and upgrade deficient bridges on the country's major highways. Increased fuel taxes are one possible revenue source for that fund, the committee said.

Bush's statement was no surprise, given his long–standing opposition to tax increases.

He also criticized members of the transportation panel, which has a lead role in drafting highway legislation. He said that "the way it seems to have worked is that each member on that committee gets to set his or her own priority first, and then whatever is left over is spent through a formula.

"That's not the right way to prioritize the people's money."