Gas Tax for Highways Only?

The gas tax is being spread too thin on a broad range of transportation projects, according to the Reason Foundation. They say the gas-tax should be directed towards its original recipient: highways.

This piece lays out the argument, which says that the government's trend towards applying the gas tax to various transportation projects reduces its efficiency. By directing it solely at the interstate highway system, there would be no reason to raise the tax, according to the report.

"[A]sking federal highway users to pay substantially more in order to fund expanded programs for sidewalks, bikeways, recreational trails and more transit is unlikely to succeed, since the large majority of highway users do not use, and would not benefit from, these mostly localized urban projects. Principles of federalism suggest that these kinds of projects are more appropriately funded at state or local levels of government. But if Congress sees fit to continue them at the federal level, they should be supported by all taxpayers, as the kind of social infrastructure funded by federal agencies concerned with urban amenities (HUD) and outdoor recreation (Interior)."

Full Story: Restoring Trust In the Highway Trust Fund

Comments

Comments

While We All Susidize Local Roads

"By directing it solely at the interstate highway system, there would be no reason to raise the tax"

Gas taxes should all go to interstates because "the large majority of highway users do not use, and would not benefit from, these mostly localized urban projects" such as sidewalks and bikeways.

But of course, cities general funds should continue to pay for local streets.

The automobile should not subsidize other users. But we should all subsidize the local streets that automobiles use after they leave the Interstate.

It is very fair and very efficient, in the view of the Reason Foundation, for automobiles not to pay their full cost.

Charles Siegel

Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

Gas Tax For Interstates Only?

Reason wants to "refocus the Highway Trust Fund on expanding, modernizing, and rebuilding the Interstate Highway System." (thanks - Ken Orski - read your 'brief')

Thinking about Charles Siegel's comment above - on the need not just for multimodal approaches - but for other road purposes.... particularly rural, non-Interstate roads mentioned here ("Depaving Rural American Roads-Literally".

In fact, that Nobel economist laureate who writes for the paper of "all the news that's fit to print" even alluded to the depaving phenomenon in his recent column, America Goes Dark": "....a country that once amazed the world with its visionary investments in transportation, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highway System, is now in the process of unpaving itself: in a number of states, local governments are breaking up roads they can no longer afford to maintain, and returning them to gravel."

You would thing the voice of "reason" would say that rather on how to slice a pie that is clearly too small, they would work to grow the pie......

Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

Sneaky sneaky...

When this libertarian group wants to appear 'reasonable' while their intent is just the opposite, they call their organization "Reason". So sneaky.

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