Though Republicans have generally opposed tax increases, Zelle said his role places him as a purveyor of facts, above the political fray.
“Sometimes I know more about the economy of a region than whose party the elected official is from,” he said. He suggested, though, that both parties “kind of come together on this issue.”
The fact that he should look for more money, not for ways to make cuts, is only rarely questioned, he said. Some people think the state should take money from other areas and spend it on transportation, he said.
Zelle, the former CEO of the bus company Jefferson Lines, said there’s a business case to be made for spending more on transportation. A consultant’s report released last week estimated a return-on-investment of between $20.7 billion and $41.9 billion on transportation spending of $12.5 billion.