Transportation Power Grab

Add regulation of subways and light-rail, even those contained solely within one state, to the list of power grabs by an ever-expanding federal government. A recent story from the Washington Post reports the following on the regulatory expansion desired by the Obama administration:

Under the proposal, the U.S. Department of Transportation would do for transit what it does for airlines and Amtrak: set and enforce federal regulations to ensure that millions of passengers get to their destinations safely. Administration officials said the plan will be presented in coming weeks to Congress, which must approve a change in the law.

Of course safety is the attempted justification for the change — many illegitimate government actions are typically prefaced on that particular justification. After all, who could be against safety?

Certainly transportation could be considered commerce. But the Constitution only gives Congress the power to regulate commerce among the states — when it involves one or more states. There’s that pesky Constitution getting in the way again. That seems to be the attitude of many politicians seeking the enlargement of government.

And the law doesn’t currently allow it, either. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood lamented this when noting that “there’s not much we could do, because the law wouldn’t allow us to do it.”

Naturally, the regulatory agencies are all too happy to support this enlargement of federal power. A member of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) called the proposal “long overdue,” adding that she hoped “that Congress will act on it swiftly.” The added regulation would expand the NTSB’s authority to control more of transportation throughout the country — interstate, intrastate, you name it.

Don’t worry about the Constitution, it’s about our safety.

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