Summit News

Tax hikes needed for new U.S. transport links

Petra Todorovich, director of America 2050, speaks at the Reuters Infrastructure Summit in New York, May 6, 2009. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. cities and states will need to raise or create taxes and increase fees for high-speed rail and other transport links as private investors will play only a limited role, a regional planning expert said on Wednesday.

Petra Todorovich, a director with the Regional Planning Association, said motorists around the nation will have to pay higher gasoline taxes. She recommended starting with a 10 cents per gallon increase that would be indexed to inflation.

“You can’t run an economy if you can’t move people and goods, Todorovich said at the Reuters Infrastructure Summit.

“Obviously, these are hard choices and infrastructure is not the sexiest thing to spend money on,” she added.

Her organization is focused on New York, New Jersey and Connecticut but has a crafted a national infrastructure proposal.

Though high-speed rail development would compete with autos, its emergence could help struggling U.S. manufacturers by opening a major market for domestic manufacturers. High-speed rail equipment is now dominated by non-U.S. companies.

(For summit blog:

Reporting by Michael Connor, Joan Gralla and Karen Pierog; Editing by Theodore d’Afflisio