The ability to move people and goods across state lines is why we have a national transportation system led by the federal government, not a patchwork of 50 state networks. If the federal gas tax was eliminated as you propose ("It's time to end the federal gas tax," Jan. 4), Utah’s governor would have to enact a 21-cent increase in the state’s gas tax to make up for the shortfall — probably the biggest one-day tax increase in state history. Such a scenario is unlikely politically.

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Think back to the Salt Lake Olympics. A September 2000 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office found the federal government provided $1.4 billion in assistance related to the Games, including such things as highways, transit systems and other capital improvements. It is doubtful the Utah state government could have provided similar resources.

Lastly, the editorial paints an incomplete picture of President Reagan’s views. The fact is, back in 1982, Ronald Reagan was the last U.S. president to successfully push a gas tax increase solely for the purpose of making transportation improvements.

Reagan knew what the editorial writers at the Deseret News apparently don’t: strong federal investment in transportation is critical to U.S. economic growth and mobility.

Peter Ruane

Washington, DC