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In our opinion: It's time to end the federal gas tax

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  • Ben Jones Bowie, MD
    Jan. 15, 2014 11:00 a.m.

    I did a little calculation last year. My wife and I put 25000 miles per year on our two vehicles averaging about 30 miles per gallon, which means that we use 833 gallons of gas per year. With Maryland's combined federal and state taxes adding up to $0.42 per gallon we pay $350 per year in gas tax. Is that a lot? We pay 8 times that just for our auto insurance! We pay 8 times that just for our gas! Surely that is a small price to pay for the ability to drive on decent roads from one end of the country to the other without having to pay a toll.

    Are we upset because it is called a tax? Well, call it a user-fee because that is what it is, really. Are we upset because some of it is used to fund mass transit? Well, it is still a small price for helping to relieve congestion in places like Washington DC.

  • Chilidog Somewhere, IL
    Jan. 14, 2014 4:31 p.m.

    So you want the local politicians to take over road maintenance projects.

    Wooo hooo More work for the mayor's cousin Clem. You know he needs it since he got out of jail.

  • no2tolls Richmond, VA
    Jan. 6, 2014 1:46 p.m.

    Turning to tolls as the answer to our transportation funding issues is a very bad idea. Tolling roads, especially interstates, is an inefficient way to try and find more money for roads. Tolls cost alot to operate and maintain and force people to find alternative routes to avoid paying them. There are alot of solutions that should be considered and many are rightly described as innovative. But tolling is not one of those solutions.

    If anyone wants to learn more about this issue they should visit www.tollfreeinterstates.com. This site shows the true consequences of turning to tolling existing interstates as a way to pay for roads.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Jan. 6, 2014 10:14 a.m.

    bandersen
    Saint George, UT
    I have the best idea and anyone who disagrees doesn't want to deal with specifics. My idea is to limit federal spending to 15 percent . That gives the the federal government 5 percent more than I give to The Lord,

    3:25 p.m. Jan. 4, 2014

    ==========

    News Flash b,
    Mitt Romney paid less than 1/2 the rate you propose.

    So, you are asking for a 100%+ doubling tax increase on the those making over $250K.
    while Obama asked for only 3-5%

    The people most opposed to a flat tax are the uber-wealthy, NOT the poor and middle class!

    That's what the 99% are asking for, equality.
    Not a hand out.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Jan. 6, 2014 10:06 a.m.

    bandersen said: "Where did I say I gave 10 percent to a church?"
    -um right above seriously, are you unaware that we read what you post?
    Here's what you said...
    "My idea is to limit federal spending to 15 percent . That gives the the federal government 5 percent more than "I give to The Lord, which by the way is close to 10 percent" more than Biden or Obama give to him"

    Toll roads yeah! Another "privatize the profits socialize the costs" conservative dream, cause they would only use those tolls to maintain the roads nicely, not line the pockets of the local politicians relatives.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Jan. 6, 2014 9:51 a.m.

    Ultra Bob
    Cottonwood Heights, UT
    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 run.

    9:21 a.m. Jan. 4, 2014

    =======

    Agreed --
    Businesses are always looking for NEW business, and then stiffle all other compititon.

    Look what lucritive endevors they are pursing now --
    They first drill it into everyone's head tha Government can NEVER do anything right.
    Then point out that private industry can do everything cheaper and better.

    Then they swoop in and;
    Privatize Schools,
    Privatize Fire Departments,
    Privatize Security and Police Forces...

    Now it's Privatize roads and all vital infrustructure...
    Last call will be Privatize of our Military,
    and with they money,
    they can rule to the ends of the earth,
    and there will be none to make afraid.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 5, 2014 3:16 p.m.

    "just remember: Less taxes = more prosperity, plain and simple."

    Well, that sure isn't true. Plain and simple. But it's odd that so many people believe such things.

    Let's do a thought experiment to understand why this claim is false. Imagine our society with zero taxes. The claim is less taxes equals more prosperity, there are no qualifiers, so it stands to reason, using this claim, that no taxes at all would lead to amazing prosperity.

    So what happens when we have no taxes? First off, no official government at any level, right? Now obviously some people are saying, wouldn't that be great!

    Well, would it? There would be no police forces. After all, cops aren't going to volunteer. And no judicial system, no judges, no courts, no bailiffs. There would be no zoning regulations, no modern road system.

    How do you think businesses will do in this sort of world?

    And then there would be no military. I guarantee that the societies that weren't silly enough to defund their militaries because they thought fewer taxes = greater prosperity would own America right now.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Jan. 5, 2014 10:17 a.m.

    Regarding bad air, isn't it refreshing to have someone from Idaho tell us what we ought to do in SLC? (Maybe I ought to tell Idaho about their roads, right?)

    With regards to using the money for roads and road maintenance, how many of you are aware of the numerous times the US Congress has raided Social Security funds? I have worked for 5 local governments and three state governments and I can tell you that if there is a fund that shows a positive balance the politicians will use it for something else--guaranteed!

    With respect to using CNG cars, why can't they be the standard version that is manufactured and charge more for a gasoline engine? That would produce immediate results in less pollution and we have trillions of cubic feet of natural gas available. If CNG were $1 a gallon then maybe we could afford $.75 a gallon taxes, or even a $1. But greed would enter into it and the CNG would be priced at $4 a gallon because it would be the latest "trend."

    Those who hate driving may take a horse or walk or ride a bike and just remember: Less taxes = more prosperity, plain and simple!

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 5, 2014 9:09 a.m.

    The notion that government closer to home is better is a lie.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 5, 2014 6:21 a.m.

    Asnowman

    As to the "tax reduction" by POTUS, he raided the Social Security fund for this break by reducing "contributions" but he did not reduce pay out so the crisis can that was kicked down the road comes a little closer to the proverbial cliff.

    As for my two-bits, I think increase in gas tax, with an annual federal tax on electric cars for the highway fund and eliminate contributions to mass transit and other projects. The roads need to be maintained. Electric cars reduce hydrocarbon emission from cars, but they still add to wear and tear on the highways. They also increase emissions from the coal powered electrical plants that charge them at night. But that is a topic for another day.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Jan. 5, 2014 1:50 a.m.

    I'll tell you what's really stupid: The feds charge a half cent increment and the State charges 4 tenths percent so that's how they came up with .9 cents on the end of every gallon. It sounds cheaper that way.

    The reason it's more expensive to build roads is the endless paperwork the feds require. I've worked for local, county, state and federal projects in more than one state. It's absolutely mind boggling and they NEVER ask about the effect of any of their regulations, and you're obliged to comply.

    Where I live they asked individuals to conserve water so did. They sold less water so they had to raise the prices. When we have a normal water year did the price go back down? Dream on!!

    Next puzzler: Recycling. They forced everyone that didn't want to enrich the firms collecting garbage to have to "opt out" of the recycling pick-up and fee instead of those wanting it to "opt in." (Backwards, for fear of not getting enough customers.)

    Get Uncle Sam as far away from assessing and collecting taxes as possible, including Obama Care, which is the latest tax foisted upon Americans.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Jan. 5, 2014 12:37 a.m.

    Shaun: Where did I say I gave 10 percent to a church?

    10cc and the rest: Just as I thought! 15 percent wasn't good enough! Neither would 20 or 30 or whatever! it is all about big brother having all the answers. My idea is too honest, straight forward and uncomplicated for the Socialists. Transparency is not what a socialist and the corruptible want. When things are complicated, the poor, the ignorant, and the naive can be taken advantage of. The Constitution is relatively easy to understand. it doesn't take a law degree to understand, but the corrupted, the judges, and the academics have convinced many otherwise. it doesn't take a genius to figure out what it really means, including the most recent grab for federal power by a judge over ruling the will of the people in Utah. You know, however. My idea will catch on to those who like simplicity and to think that you could have shut me and a host of other conservatives up forever! Just think of it! you could throw all 15 percent of whatever program you wanted without nary a word from me! You can't get a better deal! Wake up America!

  • Roddin MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA
    Jan. 4, 2014 10:07 p.m.

    My state has a law on the books that if the federal government lowers their federal gas tax, that the state gasoline tax automatically increases by exactly the same amount per gallon. Thus if your suggestion were to be implemented, at least in this state, we would have the same amount of funding available for transportation projects, and decision-making could be done at a level closer to where the funds are collected. Thus it is a good plan, especially for "donor states" such as mine.

  • Bob K portland, OR
    Jan. 4, 2014 6:07 p.m.

    WOW! I thought the DN belonged to the lds church, not the Kochs or Rand Paul!

    Obviously, the Interstate Highway System is of national importance, so at the very least, making sure its repair and updating is constantly funded is of vital interest.

    Example of stupidity caused by "leaving it to the States"
    --- The Interstate Bridge on US Highway 5 runs from Portland, OR to Vancouver, WA. This is the main route North/South through CA, OR, and WA, to Canada and to Mexico.

    The bridge consists of 2 matching drawbridges, about a mile long.
    One of the bridges is about 100 years old, the other about 55 years old.
    They could easily go down in an Earthquake, and should be replaced by a modern bridge that is taller, to avoid the ridiculousness of drawbridge on an Interstate Highway.

    Washington State decided not to fund its part of the cost of the replacement bridge, nullifying Oregon and the Federal Government's urgency to make sure commerce is safeguarded.

    ..... And I thought the editorial encouraging the Amendment 3 court fight was nutty!
    This one comes from way off in the fringe, where the right-wing billionaires dwell.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Jan. 4, 2014 5:18 p.m.

    The federal gas tax is a use tax and it makes sense: those that use the roads, pay the taxes. It should be used exclusively for transportation (building new highways and maintaining the ones we have). I remember how it was traveling long distances before the interstate so I don't resent the gas tax. If the gas tax money went into health care or defense or farm subsidies, then I would object.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 5:06 p.m.

    banderson:

    We have an excellent example right next to us of probably the optimal amount of taxes: Canada.

    The Canadians have far less economic inequality than we do, they rode through the financial crisis with minimal problems - because they believe in solid regulation of financial markets, not the "casino" approach formerly advocated by Alan Greenspan and others who used to think markets would somehow regulate themselves.

    Canada surpassed the US on the Index of Economic Freedom annually released by the conservative Heritage Foundation - it's easier to become a millionaire in Canada now than it is in the US.

    Average total taxation in Canada: 38% Average total taxation in the US: 28%

    Moral of the story: we may have actually dipped *below* the optimal taxation rate, when a wide variety of measures are considered. I know this will be met by howls of protest by those on the right, but the numbers speak for themselves. The extreme example of low taxes and no government regulation is Somalia, which I'm pretty sure nobody uses as an example of freedom.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 4:34 p.m.

    @bandersen. Giving money to a church that doesn't provide any services is really different from paying taxes to a government entity that provides services and has to pay for those services instead of relying on volunteers like churches do.

  • Kralon HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA
    Jan. 4, 2014 4:01 p.m.

    "This “temporary” federal gasoline tax has lingered eight decades after its expiration date"

    You realize that Income Tax was also a temporary measure? The arguments against it do not carry a lot of weight as, besides funding highways, higher gasoline taxes should also increase the public's desire to car pool and purchase vehicles that have better gas mileage. Growing up on a ranch I realized that the pickup truck was seldom needed as we drove all over. It would be nice if ranchers, farmers, construction workers, tough guys, etc. realized that they don't often need to drive gas guzzling trucks!

    There is always the argument that local oversight is better and more efficient, but local oversight is also full of graft and cronyism where the same local mistakes keep getting repeated Some Federal oversight is necessary to have nationwide road standards of construction and maintenance.

    I believe there needs to be a balance of local oversight and Federal oversight. Too much of either one is not good!

  • Asnowman Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 3:30 p.m.

    In response to Mountanman, who asks "Who was the last President to give everyone who actually pays taxes a tax cut and what did Democrats say about it?"

    That would be President Obama, who cut payroll taxes by 2 percentage points in 2011 and 2012, thus giving every who actually earns income an immediate increase in take home pay.

    Oh, and why did it expire in only two years? check with the Republicans who fought to prevent it's extension.

    Thanks for asking!

  • Cincinnatus Kearns, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 3:30 p.m.

    WestGranger: "So you want us to only pay attention to studies from the myriad of liberal groups out there?"

    banderson: "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..."

    No, those questioning this opinion piece have legitimate concerns about the call to end the federal gas tax.

    First, the report from the Cato should be balanced by studies from other places across the political spectrum. Bias is inherent in any report from groups like this. Reading and looking for multiple ideas, helps us find facts, throw out false claims, and find the best alternatives- its called critical thinking. Questioning an issue from different points of view is not sticking your head in the sand.

    Second, I'm all for reducing or ending a tax, but what's the alternative? Shift that same amount to the state? Turn everything into a toll road? Tax individual cars based on actual mileage? You can't just turn off the funding and hope for the best. Roads still need to be funded somehow- that is an economic reality. Let the roads crumble, so will the economy.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 3:25 p.m.

    I have the best idea and anyone who disagrees doesn't want to deal with specifics. My idea is to limit federal spending to 15 percent . That gives the the federal government 5 percent more than I give to The Lord, which by the way is close to 10 percent more than Biden or Obama give to him, and then let them actually work back there in Washington to figure out how to make ends meet. how about that! all you liberals will never here another word out of me criticizing any one-ever! you can go dump my 15 percent in the ocean and I still won't say a word! Isn't that worth it! I will bet you I could find a whole host of conservatives that will commit to letting you liberals do anything you want with the money. just don't come back for more-ever! deal?

  • Cincinnatus Kearns, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 3:08 p.m.

    from banderson:

    "The way to solve most of this countries ills is to turn to God."

    Uh, huh. This was an article on the federal gas tax. So are you proposing that if we end the federal gas tax that we should expect the shortfall in funding to come from God?

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 1:17 p.m.

    All I can think of is Bush;s tax cuts that is expiring, which actually means, all the tax increases that he didn't put into effect.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 12:04 p.m.

    "Federal gasoline taxes have been used to fund a variety of projects other than building and maintaining highways, which was the stated purpose for which they were implemented." 81% of Federal gas tax revenues go to the maintenance of highways and bridges. The remainder goes to mass transit. The problem with shifting the whole thing back to a state like Utah is that Utah is basically a big family business, with you-scratch-my-back, I'll-scratch yours. We saw that with the I-15 rebuild in Utah County. There is in fact less corruption at the Federal level than here in Utah. There is more objectivity at the Federal level. We have yet to see that the AG's office can function as an effective cop over the process.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 11:59 a.m.

    Let the states handle it? Okay, who supports increasing the state gas tax to pay for it? Anyone?

  • Prodicus Provo, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 11:52 a.m.

    People who actually understands the economy, like Greg Mankiw (well-know Harvard economist, Romney's main economics adviser) say we need to be increasing the gas tax by at least a dollar per gallon.

    Ignoring that advice and concentrating on a few economically ignorant extremists' claim that we should abolish the federal gas tax is ridiculous.

    I'm in favor of more local control but it is not realistic to think that in the current political climate the states will make the hard decisions regarding fuel taxes that we need to make.

  • RG Buena Vista, VA
    Jan. 4, 2014 11:48 a.m.

    I'm amazed at how many people refuse to listen to an idea just because it is from the Cato institute. It is a lot easier to dismiss arguments out of hand that way, than to actually engage them. Everything the fed govt does, and to a lesser extent, the state or local govts, is subject to fraud, abuse and waste. How many govt projects do NOT have cost overruns? Maybe a few. But learn from history, folks! The gas tax would be a good idea if the tax actually went, 100%, to highway construction/repair, and at normal wages. We don't need to raise the gas tax, we need to spend it right.

  • louie Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 11:29 a.m.

    Interesting article, especially since Utah has spent over a billion federal dollars on UTA construction projects plus continuing federal subsidy for UTA operations. Now we got our federal money to heck with anyone else.

  • WestGranger West Valley City, Utah
    Jan. 4, 2014 11:02 a.m.

    @Liberal Larry So you want us to only pay attention to studies from the myriad of liberal groups out there? Studies from groups that don't go along with your view of the world are dismissed off hand? Are groups accepted by liberals the only ones who can do valid research? Isn't that a narrow point of view? I enjoy having my view of the world challenged and not simply confirmed.

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    Jan. 4, 2014 10:48 a.m.

    @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 do right.

  • ParkCityAggie Park City, Ut
    Jan. 4, 2014 10:47 a.m.

    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 have now.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 10:46 a.m.

    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!

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 9:21 a.m.

    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 run.

  • fmalad Malad, ID
    Jan. 4, 2014 9:18 a.m.

    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.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 9:01 a.m.

    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.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 8:47 a.m.

    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.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    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.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 8:24 a.m.

    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.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 4, 2014 8:23 a.m.

    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.

  • ShaunMcC La Verkin, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 8:21 a.m.

    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.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Jan. 4, 2014 8:13 a.m.

    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.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 4, 2014 8:07 a.m.

    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)

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 7:52 a.m.

    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.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    Jan. 4, 2014 7:37 a.m.

    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.

  • Unreconstructed Reb Chantilly, VA
    Jan. 4, 2014 6:47 a.m.

    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.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Jan. 4, 2014 6:06 a.m.

    "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 defend it.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 5:45 a.m.

    Are the charities going to pick up the tab for road construction?

    They are doing a bang up job ending violence and poverty.

    Notice, Sarcasm.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 1:24 a.m.

    "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.

  • micawber Centerville, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 12:33 a.m.

    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.