Something's going on, I'm here to pick at it.

Why Our Roads Suck – A Forced Remembrance. | July 3, 2012

You know what keeps amazing me? Everyone talking about how “The Government’s gathering up all this money, yet they fix nothing.” The sad thing is that the information is out there, only people don’t care to think about it.

Take the example of roads, bridges and transit:

Right now we pay 18.4 cents/gallon in federal gas taxes, with one penny per gallon dedicated to Mass Transit. This is where it’s been since 1997, when the last bill relating to the Federal Gas Tax was passed.

Fifteen years. Which makes the dollar in 1997 worth seventy cents today, if you’re an optimist…and believe the governmental CPI…and ignore that gas (increased 200%, if my recollections on gas prices are right), material and food prices have shot up much more than what the Governmental CPI is willing to admit.

Add in the fact that much of the construction work today isn’t so much “plant two new ribbons of concrete through miles and miles of farmland” (or even “shut things down to work on everything at once”) but is instead “tear up four lanes to put in six, remake interchanges into SPUIs and make sure traffic keeps moving during the work,” and you have a recipe for less and less being done and costing more and more. Shifting transit funding (all one cent per gallon of it) over to highway funding would just add drops to the bucket.

What’s needed is to change how gas is taxed.
First, peg the tax as a percentage of the tax – like they do with gas taxes in Indiana and Illinois.
Second, base that percentage to what we paid in 1997. Basically, it would be a tripling of tax money at the moment – at least in step with gas inflation, plus keeping up with the rising prices of other materials (and wages). Even if the percentage was dropped (Say…down to 10%, from the de facto 15-18% between 1997 and 2000) it’s definitely higher than the present 5% de facto rate.
Third, instead of a penny of the tax going to transit, put in a certain percentage written into law. Like…20% of the tax going to transit, 80% going to Roads. Some places are just NOT going to be amenable to highways, ramps, parking lots and lawns.
And Fourth: for the first five years, take ten percent off the top for a slush fund, so that when revenue drops commitments made during better times could be completed.

(Not that I expect this to come about. Too many Americans would rather bitch about decaying roads than put their money towards fixing the roads.)


2 Comments »

  1. Good thoughts on the issue.

    Don’t you think we should also have a certain percentage dedicated to energy conservation or public transport. I get the impression that you agree that making a four lane highway into a six lane highway feels like a waste of resources. If more efforts were put into reducing the number of vehicles on the road, then the tax money could eventually be used to extend the network to remote places rather than to maintain and expand the existing infrastructure.

    Comment by funnyphuppo — July 3, 2012 @ 11:55 pm

  2. First of all I would like to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was curious to know how youu center yourself and clear your mind before writing.
    I’ve had difficulty clearing my mind in getting my ideas out.
    I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the
    first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted just trying to figure
    out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips? Appreciate
    it!

    Comment by tankless water heater home depot — September 21, 2013 @ 10:15 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

    Why I Have This Blog:

    I tend to react over a period of days, not minutes. I also work ten hours plus during the day, so whenever something happens I'm getting my thoughts organized as the Internet chews through fifteen levels of reaction. Hence this blog: A place where people can seek out intelligent thoughts (and, God Willing, I can provide them...)
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: