The Dernogalizer

January 1, 2009

Panel Agrees with me on Disease, not Treatment

Filed under: Energy/Climate,MD Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 9:42 pm
Tags: , ,

I Thought I Told You to Drop It!

I Thought I Told You to Drop It!

So a Federal Commission tasked to figure out how in the world to fund transportation decided that we need to substantially increase the gas tax.  Article can be found here.  Increase it by how much?

“In a report expected in late January, members of the infrastructure financing commission say they will urge Congress to raise the gas tax by 10 cents a gallon and the diesel fuel tax by 12 to 15 cents a gallon. At the same time, the commission will recommend tying the fuel tax rates to inflation.

The commission will also recommend that states raise their fuel taxes and make greater use of toll roads and fees for rush-hour driving.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for increasing the cost of driving because I want us to reduce carbon emissions, reduce oil use, and transition to more efficient vehicles.  However, as I stated in a recent blog post(:

The gas tax is ultimately a dead end.  Even if raising it is a good way to increase funding for transportation, we’re inevitably going to lose the revenue when gas prices rise and more efficient cars are on the road.  In addition, the gas tax puts an incentive for roads over mass transit, which is a bad way to get off oil or fight global warming.

People who are quoted miss the mark..”I’m not excited about a gas tax increase, but the reality is our current gas tax doesn’t pay for upkeep of the system we have now,” said Adrian Moore, vice president of the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank in Los Angeles, and a member of the highway revenue commission. “We can either let the roads go to hell or we can pay more.”

Right on sentence #1… our current tax doesn’t pay for upkeep.  But the choice between letting the roads go to hell or pay more….no?  How about we stop building roads, and start building transit?  And if we’re going to pay more, pay it out of the general budget so we adequately fund it.  I don’t care what you do with the gas tax specifically, I’m just saying that the funding source needs to change.

At least the writer of the article throws out a bit of a hint..

“The dilemma for Congress is that highway and transit programs are dependent for revenue on fuel taxes that are not sustainable. Many Americans are driving less and switching to more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, and a shift to new fuels and technologies like plug-in hybrid electric cars will further erode gasoline sales.”

Pretty much what I said…

The recommendation ultimately is

“According to a draft of the financing commission’s recommendations, the nation needs to move to a new system that taxes motorists according to how much they use roads.

“Most if not all of the commissioners have a strong belief and commitment that we need a fundamental transformation of the current system,” said commission chairman Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a technology policy think tank in Washington.

Okay so I like that they recognize there needs to be a change, but I think they are wildly off target.  It’s pretty simple, just take take the funds from the gas tax, and put them into the general fund, and draw what you need from that fund.  Otherwards, we’re subsidizing roads, and doing a bad job of funding and upkeeping them at the same time.

Incompetence at its finest.


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