An opportunity to raise the gas tax?
Left: Flickr photo by Deborah Fitchett of an annotated pothole.
The Post has an article today on transportation funding, "Nation’s highways remain an issue for an Obama second term." It makes the point that the only time that the federal gasoline tax has been raised in the last 30 years is as part of deficit reduction deals.
One of the comments in the article is particularly on point. Racerkoi writes, in response to another comment:
... each cent-a-gallon increase in Federal Gas Tax would cost him only about $10 a year if he gets a MODEST 21 MPG.
400 miles per week divided by 21 MPG=19 gallons of gas a week. 19 gallons of gas times 52 weeks = 988 gallons per year. A one-cent-a-gallon tax increase would cost him $9.88 EACH YEAR. Switching to a vehicle that gets 22 MPG, slowing down an average of 3 MPH, or buying 3 fewer lattes A YEAR would negate any increase from a 18.4 cents a gallon to 19.4 cents a gallon Federal Gas Tax.
If a campaign about the mobility network were to be focused on the state of the roadway network and the needs to maintain it, AND about how the network is funded, THAT GASOLINE TAXES PROVIDE LESS THAN 50% OF THE COST OF BUILDING AND MAINTAINING THE MOBILITY NETWORK, then maybe there could be progress on this issue.
I'm not expecting that will happen, but it's the only way forward--to up the game on people's knowledge of the cost of roads, the physics of traffic (that you can't build your way out of congestion) and the size of cars (they take up a lot of space to move relatively few people), and the various sources of funding, especially since mileage based road charges are even less likely to be enacted than increasing the excise tax on gasoline.
Average gas tax, per state, including local, state, and federal taxes.