Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Monday, November 12, 2012

An opportunity to raise the gas tax?

Fix itLeft:  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.

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At 11:25 AM, Anonymous charlie said...

in a pefect world, we could increase the gas tax a bit every year -- and dedicate that money for actual road work.

Back in the real world, Obama won't push for it and I don't see the House doing so either.

Interesting the business users are the ones that want a higher tax.

At 9:20 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

the way to do it is to index it, and index it to inflation/the cost of fuel so that it's an automatic process, not one subject to voting all the time.

At 8:14 AM, Anonymous charlie said...

You'll remember that the proposal last summer to turn the gas tax into a percentage rather than penny based tax was shouted down by transit advocates (among others)

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At 4:23 AM, Anonymous Doug Sheridan said...

Our politicians raise all kinds of concerns and have hearings on Capitol Hill whenever market conditions cause a TEMPORARY rise in gasoline prices. Yet they seem strangely willing to levy taxes that will raise the price of gasoline PERMANENTLY and repressively on Americans.


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