Bump Up the Gas Tax$800,000,000,000 in stimulus - the primary purpose of which was to invest in "shovel-ready" transportation projects - isn't enough. We need more. And more. And ...
One-third of the country's roads are in poor or mediocre condition, a problem that's particularly acute in cities.
The stimulus package approved in February will inject needed dollars into state transportation funds, but it's hardly a panacea. The package doles out $27 billion for highways nationwide, a fraction of the $166 billion the federal government should be investing. Maryland received $431 million for highways, Virginia close to $700 million. That sounds like a lot, but each state recently cut roughly $2.2 billion from its six-year transportation funding plan because of the economic downturn. The percentage of roads rated as poor in the Washington area rose from 25 percent in 2004 to 31 percent to 2007; stimulus spending will barely slow the deterioration.
The solution in the near term, as this page has argued, is to raise the gasoline tax. The 18.4-cents-a-gallon federal gas tax hasn't risen since 1993 ...
Hardly anyone welcomes higher gas prices. But Bob Chase, head of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, estimates that a 10-cent increase in the gas tax would cost Virginians an average of $60 a year. [link]
Besides, that $60 is such a paltry sum. Hell, these guys spend that much at lunch each day.
But for the family in Southwest Virginia that has been thrown out of work because the economy went south and the factory went east, sixty dollars is a lot of money. An amount that could keep them from being able to obtain work. An amount that could take food off the table. An amount that will keep them off the roads that - these guys tell us - are in such need of repair.
As I recall, these jokers at the Post were for the SCHIP tax too, which is now the law of the land. (Thanks, Obama, for that tax cut you promised).
That one, so you know, hit the poorest among us hardest as well. Not that the elite snobs at the Post care. They have gainful employment. The poor? Let them eat cake. We are, according to a group whose sole purpose in life is to obtain additional funding for transportation projects, in desperate need of additional funding for transportation projects.
The world is in the throes of a severe recession. And the cloistered monks at the Washington Post hope to make it worse.