Thursday, August 4, 2011

Build Roads n' Stuff (even if it means raising the gas tax)!

The way to pitch raising the gas tax is not to highlight the increase in the gas tax, but to instead point out what it is that money pays for. People like roads! In 2005, an relatively unpopular governor passed a gas tax increase in a ballot-initiative happy state. You would think that an initiative to repeal something like that would succeed. But no; the repeal initiative lost 45-55. People like roads. Community leaders in small towns know that road construction brings jobs and ease traffic problems (and yes, small towns, which often have very few major thoroughfares, have traffic problems). Our core infrastructure continues to lag behind the rest of the developed world, and the public is willing to pay for improvements to the pieces of infrastructure that people see and use every day.

The last time the federal gas tax was increased, gas was under a dollar per gallon. Construction costs have grown immensely since 1993, and our unwillingness to face fiscal facts on the gas tax is one reason we're having a hard time bringing any new lane capacity on line.

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