Published: Saturday, Jan. 4 2014 12:00 a.m. MST
Your editorials would have more credibility if they referenced sources from a
broader spectrum. The Cato Institute may offer a valuable viewpoint, but it is
one that should at least be balanced.
"In addition federal involvement discourages 'innovations' such as
toll roads".-----I'm convinced, federal
involvement in roads is a good thing. I would rather pay my tolls at the pump.
In addition a toll road charges all cars the same. The gas tax discourages gas
guzzlers. We are still having to go to war to assure the oil supply. Toll roads
instead of a gas tax would only make this worse.
Are the charities going to pick up the tab for road construction?
They are doing a bang up job ending violence and poverty. Notice,
"Research has demonstrated that federal intervention increases both
construction and administrative costs anywhere from 20 to 30 percent."Everything always comes does to inefficient government. Why is it
inefficient? Because our elected officials are paid to make it inefficient.Large companies pay off our representatives in the form of campaign
contributions and lobbying. These companies get what they pay for.It is much more than just "bringing home the bacon". It is pure,
unadulterated bribery.And until we make a change and get the big
corporate and union money out of politics, our tax dollars will be spent
unwisely.Unfortunately, 1/2 the electorate has been duped into
supporting the big money in politics.They not only support it, they
Rather than increase the fuel tax to cover a transportation funding shortfall,
you'd repeal the tax entirely? The tax hasn't been raised in 20
years, hasn't kept pace with inflation, and hasn't been maintained
existing infrastructure.Yes, the highway system has been completed.
And as anyone driving across the country in summer can attest, vast maintenance
is required for upkeep. Maintenance requires funding.Do you think
that shifting maintenance burdens to the states will result in better
maintenance? Citing a website named downsizinggovernment isn't convincing.
Doesn't a Utah paper see that for federal highway funding, Utah is a
taker, not a maker? My experiences with Utah's willingness to pay for
infrastructure don't bode well for I-80 or I-15.Federal
government has historically invested heavily in transportation infrastructure,
from the Erie Canal to railroads to roads to highways. This investment is
credited by economists for much of our historical economic growth because it
encourages movement of goods. Federal oversight of a comprehensive
transportation system is preferable to a patchwork system of self-interested
localities doing (or not doing) that heavy lifting.
This editorial cites a study by the Koch brother funded Cato Institute. The
Koch brothers are so anti government, and right wing biased, that their research
has very little credibility.
Now you are talking, just 50 years late. But, it is a start. The way to solve
most of this countries ills is to turn to God. The next best thing is to abide
by the Constitution, which will end federal control over the disasters that are
a part of unconstitutional involvement in everything from Social Security to
Education to the income tax and every form of taxation that isn't
Constitutional, including the federal gas tax.
Lets look at this by the numbers, using data from the study the author
reference. One of the proposed solutions is to dump gas tax in exchange for
toll roads. The study sites the Dullas Greenway as an example of a privately
funded project. Per the report, the toll ranges from $2.25 to $4.15
to travel the 14 mile long road. Using the lowest number - that equates to 16.7
cents per mile ($2.25/14). If you look at how much the tax system charges to
drive the same distance, assuming you are driving your dream monster truck and
getting only 10 miles per gallon - you would need 1.4 gallons of gas to travel
that same distance. Federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon. By the math you
need 1.4 gallons of gas x the gas tax = 22.5 cents of tax to travel that same 14
mile distance - or - 1.6 cents per mile.The author'a solution
based on data from the referenced report is a move to a system that charges
someone 10x as much to travel per mile as does the current system (16.7 cpm
tolls vs 1.6 cpm tax)
Democrats never met a tax they don't love! Who was the last President to
give everyone who actually pays taxes a tax cut and what did Democrats say about
it? I rest my case.
I agree that there is no logic in federal gas taxes, but we need to realize that
Utah would have to hike it's gas tax significantly or find other funding to
maintain and improve "federal" highways/freeways in Utah. This move
would not reduce the burden on Utah or it's citizens but rather likely
increase it. The principle is still correct - the federal government should not
collect taxes for or have jurisdiction over roads in Utah.
Just wanted to add that I am not against toll roads. In fact, I have an E-ZPass
transponder in all of my cars. But lets not be foolish enough to believe this
is and either or solution. Our national competitiveness and security depends
on a well functioning national transportation plan. But that doesn't
exclude other options.But one I do not accept is one the CATO
institute sites as a possible solution - one where GPS data is collected from
our cars and we are charged by where we have driven - with the promise that
personal information about when, where, and how often we drive is not gathered.
As we have seen from both Private (Google\Facebook) and Public (NSA) scandals
about the collection of private data, I do not want my every movement being
gathered by some entity. I am surprised CATO would be foolish enough to suggest
that as a solution.But the all or nothing proposal by the author
financially a no-go.
Illinois has the highest gas taxes in the country...and terrible roads.TARP brought new money (TIGER) to fix roads. Shovel-ready and all that
hype.Road-building in most areas is done with political clout using
inflated wage scales under the guise of prevailing wage laws. Translation: Union
jobs for union votes.Governor Blagojevich is in jail because he hit up the
cement contractors for campaign cash in exchange for another lane of the
tollway.No, motor fuel taxes have NOT served the interest of the people.
The concept isn't bad; drivers paying for the roads they use. The problem
is government corruption at all levels. We don't trust politicians and the
problem is getting worse.
I agree with micawber. The CATO institute is a radical libertarian think tank
that is opposed to virtually all government programs, hardly an objective
source.That being said, I have no problem with ending the gas tax as
long as we end all federal financing of road construction. It will be the poor
states who suffer from this, and most of them are deeply conservative states.
Making them pay for all of their own roads might make them reassess their
opposition to federal spending.
Unstated is the assumption that the State of Utah would expand their gas tax to
make up the difference. Tax money would merely be shifted from federal to
state.Given that the states on their own would have never been able
come up with an Interstate highway system - too much bickering and difference of
opinion on how to do things, what standards to use, etc - I think it's
erroneous to assume complete state ownership of transportation regulation is a
good thing. Imagine the states replacing the FAA and our air traffic system...
not a great idea.I simply don't trust the State of Utah to have
complete control over our roads. Our Legislators have proven over & over
that they're too easily swayed by local economic interests and aren't
really up to making great decisions, themselves. (The $13 million contract
mistake that has never fully be explained, unlimited campaign donations to
Shurtleff, Swallow, et al, the lack of backbone in regulating Energy Solutions,
etc)Once the State is addicted to even more money, do you think
they'll do anything to jeopardize this revenue source, like reduce air
pollution?This sounds like an ALEC idea.
Interesting that this editorial references "research" showing that
federal intervention increases costs without citing the source for this.It's from the Cato Institute, which in addition to being
ultra-conservative in its politics is also founded and funded by the US oil
industry.Sorry - you folks are going to have to do a lot better than
that if you're going to try to persuade us that eliminating federal fuel
taxes, which are essential to our national infrastructure, is a good idea.
With our dirty air in the slc valley the federal gas tax should be raised not by
15 cents but by a 1.00. Let CNG have no tax thus encouraging motorists to
switch to cng to clean up our air.
I think this article is promoting a scam to further squeeze the wealth from
ordinary people taxpayers. There are probably few people in this nation that
believe the state and local interests would build better roads than the Federal
government. My real fear is that the really smart business people
are working on an agenda to end the American experiment and grab the money and
It is good to see people from both sides of the aisle agree that the biggest
problem is corruption from government to corporate to almost in every case,
political corruption. That being the case, everyone should be able to also
agree that more money in the government coffers in any form isn't the
answer. Unfortunately, most, if not all, on the left will close their eyes and
somehow, I don't know how, continue to stick their head in the sand and
think that it will be different once we just give the government more money.-one
more time. Amazing!
This will be a moot issue in the not so distant future, and government agencies
that benefit from gas taxes are already scrambling due to the shortfalls they
have been steadily seeing every year as more and more hybrids and plug-in cars
are put on the road. And before we start smiling and think "oh that's
a good thing" just remember that the road funds are used to maintain
existing roads. So unless we want to revert to the pre-1930's when we were
driving on mostly dirt roads, we had better figure out a way to continue paying
for the upkeep. My guess is that we will have more toll roads, and we will be
paying way more to register our vehicles. We'll miss the good o'l
days of a gas tax because any newer system will likely not be as fair as what we
@UtahBlueDevil,You point out the Dulles Greenway as an example in
the article cited by this op-ed. As one who lives along the Greenway, I'd
like to add some more info. The Greenway opened in 1995, charging
$1. That rate is now over $5 during peak hours, an increase of over 500% in
less than 20 years. That makes me dismissive of the editorial's complaints
of a 45% increase in a gas tax that has not been adjusted during the same
timeframe.When the Greenway last increased its rates, there was
anger that its ownership violated its agreement with the state to ensure that
toll increases are reasonable. That outcry fizzled, allegedly when some money
was passed under the table to key state politicians. Greenway use took a dip as
many decided it's no longer economically justifiable for them to use. But it survives because of the condition of alternative state and county
roads, some of the worst congestion nationwide. My county is among the fastest
growing in the country, the county loves building/taxing new residences, and
hates spending money for infrastructure improvements to accommodate so many
people. No, I trust neither private tolls nor local government to
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