It what will amount to an absolutely asinine and incredibly stupid move should it happen, some members of Congress may oppose the renewal of the federal gasoline and diesel fuel tax when it is set to expire this fall. This tax generates revenue which is used to keep our highways from falling apart.
Considering our nationâ€™s infrastructure is crumbling, now seems like the perfect time to pull the plug on the tax, right?
In an article published on CNN Money entitled â€œGas Tax May Be Next Tea Party Target,â€ author Steve Hargreaves discusses what exactly is at stake:
A bill was recently introduced by Senate Republicans that would allow states to opt out of the federal highway program. The highway program uses $32 billion each year collected by the gas tax, plus a handful of smaller fees and some borrowing to distribute some $50 billion a year to the states for road construction, maintenance and mass transit projects.
That represents about 28% of all road and transit spending nationwide, with the rest coming from states or towns in the form of tolls, registration and user fees, state gas taxes or their general funds.
The argument for cutting the federal tax is that highways would be better served by state and local governments, which could raise their fuel taxes, should they choose.
Donâ€™t get me wrong, Iâ€™m all for statesâ€™ rights and less Federal oversight, but at a time when state and local governments are running massive deficits and having to slash their budgets left and right, is this really the time to put the burden of the nationâ€™s highway system on them?
My fear is that the gas taxes would go up at the state level, only to fund non-highway and transportation projects, leaving us with even worse road than we already have.
Besides, as most of you know, I want the Federal gas tax raised as a means of forcing people to change their driving habits and for the government to use the proceeds to invest in renewable energy development. (Yes, I know thatâ€™s a contradiction to my less Federal oversight comment. Deal with it.)
Anyway, tell me your thoughts on this. Good idea? Bad idea? Leave a comment below and, as always, please share this post using the social bookmarking buttons â€“ especially Facebook and Twitter.