November 20, 2006


Motorists face new costs for highways (Larry Copeland, 11/20/06, USA TODAY)

Frustration over traffic gridlock and inadequate gasoline-tax funds are prompting state and local governments to try alternative ways to finance road building.

Oregon is charging some motorists a road-user fee based on miles traveled instead of the state gas tax. Georgia is considering replacing its state gas tax with a 1% statewide sales tax dedicated to road and transit projects. New Jersey is looking at converting more freeways into toll roads.

Americans spend 3.7 billion hours a year stuck in traffic delays, according to the Texas Transportation Institute's study of 85 metropolitan areas. Yet road and transit projects are languishing across the country because there's not enough money to pay for them.

The 18.4-cent-per-gallon federal gas tax — which has funded major road projects since 1956 and transit projects since 1983 — was last raised in 1993 and has not kept pace with inflation.

Simple justice requires we tax them for the environmental costs too.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 20, 2006 7:57 AM

Simple justice requires we tax them for the environmental costs too.

Is it possible to pack any more more Left-Green cliches into that statement? WIth mushy sentimentality like that passing as conservative profundity, no wonder the GOP didn't stand a chance this month.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 20, 2006 4:28 PM

The GOP's lack of a conservative environmental stance kills it with suburban white women, who are a natural constituency. Masking consumption taxes as a green policy is double-plus good.

Posted by: oj at November 20, 2006 4:53 PM

Except the environmental policies those "suburban white women" want aren't just wrong, they're usually counterproductive. Becoming a Dem-Lite party when it comes to spending and such is what got the GOP where it is today, and so your solution is even more Dem-Lite policies? While at the same time embrasing the typical Leftist notion that since the current policy prescriptions don''t work, the solution is even more of the same, and more money for them, too. (Or, in this case, the political equivalent of the a wimpy "Yes, Dear. You're Right, Dear.")

Great. My choices are coming down to Hard Euro-Left, Stupid Wimp-Left, and Losertarian Left.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 20, 2006 8:48 PM

They don't care what the policy is so long as something is seen to be being done. They're women--it's about feeling. The good part is we can satisfy them with good policy, like a consumption tax on fuel.

Posted by: oj at November 20, 2006 9:09 PM

Aha! So you admit the GOP was seen as doing nothing. Good start.

But I doubt if suburban moms will be happy filling up their vans and SUVs with a $0.75 (or more) federal gas tax.

Posted by: ratbert at November 21, 2006 10:44 AM

No, not nothing. The GOP is correctly seen as hostile to any form of environmental protection.

Posted by: oj at November 21, 2006 12:06 PM