Friday, August 5, 2011

Is the gas tax the next Tea Party target?

That's the question asked by this article from yesterday. There's something for everyone to hate hate in some of the comments from Grover Norquist and other anti-tax people.

Gas taxes shouldn't be used for transit or bicycle/pedestrian projects. (Despite the fact that these projects actually take pressure off many roads, and are a far cheaper way of moving people than single occupancy vehicles.)

Federal regulations require union labor, which of course is a waste of money. We can have unskilled labor with no negotiating power build our roads, bridges, and tunnels.

The states can do things much more efficiently, and can decide if they want to raise their own taxes to pay for transportation. Where to start on that one? I'm sure the Wisconsin governor and legislators will be glad to raise taxes and fees.... And of course, the interstate system is a federal highway system. There is a reason it is fairly predictable; you pretty much know what it's going to look and feel like regardless of what state you are in. That's because it has federal standards.

Note also that there is actually a teaser headline/link in the middle of the article that says the GM CEO wants to RAISE the gas tax $1.00 per gallon. I didn't click on that link, but it's sort of an interesting juxtaposition. That position is reiterated at the end of the article, where it notes that the US Chamber of Commerce also supports a hike in the gas tax.

This is all coming to a head, because the multi-year federal transportation bill - which is somewhere between $200 - $500 billion (yes, that's a B), is on what is known as a continuing resolution. It was supposed to be written, debated, argued over, and somehow passed in a year and a half ago. (You can go here to see the clock on how long overdue it is.) Since we can't just stop building, maintaining, and operating our roads, bridges, tunnels, transit systems, non-motorized trails, and every other surface transportation system, Congress keeps extending the current bill, with all it's current policies and programs by six months at a time to keep the money flowing and the system working. The most recent continuing resolution will run out at the end of September.

Cue the scary music.

1 comment:

  1. Fresh from blocking any new tax increases during the debt ceiling debacle, some lawmakers in Congress may now oppose renewing the federal tax on gasoline and diesel fuel, which is used to maintain our nations highways.

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