Just restore the damn gas tax – Mother Jones

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With a few exceptions, the interstate road network is completely free. It may be about to change:

As pressure mounts to avert a transportation funding crisis this summer, the Obama administration on Tuesday opened the door for states to collect tolls on interstate highways to generate revenue for road repairs.

… .The question of how to pay to repair roads and transit systems built in the heady era of post-WWII expansion is in the spotlight this spring, with projections that traditional financing can no longer meet needs. That source, the Highway Trust Fund, relies on the 18.4-cent federal gasoline tax, which has gradually eroded as vehicles have become more fuel-efficient.

… .With the trust fund on the verge of falling into the red and the current federal freeway bill set to expire on September 30, Congress cannot – as its members often note – continue to “kick the ass.” walk to the box on the road ”.

Wait. It is true that we use a little less gasoline than in the past. But that’s not why the Highway Trust Fund is in dire straits. It is in dire straits because the federal gas tax has been cut by almost half since it was last amended 20 years ago. In 1993 dollars, it is now about 11 cents per gallon. If it had kept pace with inflation, highway financing would be doing well.

Now, there is arguably a good reason to allow tolls. Basically it makes highway driving more strenuous, which probably means a little less highway driving. And less driving is good for the planet. So if you think making driving less convenient is a good idea, tolls can help.

But you know what else would reduce driving? Gasoline taxes restored to 1993 levels. So what’s the point of playing around with tolls and corporate tax reform and all that instead? The answer, of course, is the Republicans, who have vowed never to raise taxes, even if “raising” actually means “keeping them at the same level.” So instead of just raising the gas tax by a dime or two and then indexing it to inflation – no fuss, no fuss – we’re going to play a bunch of silly, boring games just for the sake of it. keep our roads in good condition.

Thank you Republicans. I appreciate it.


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