liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

Why Drivers Need Gas Taxes

If you want to keep driving your car, and you would like the roads to be passable, it is in your best interest to support a gas tax. It is not easy to find a way to fund road maintenance and building. Those who purchase gas are those who use the roads. The use is proportional: more gas-->more road use. It doesn't get any more fair than that. But people seem to think that the job of government is to give them something for all the taxes they have paid in the past. Sorry, bad news: those monies are long gone. The government is in a hole. If we don't give local governments some reliable way to pay for infrastructure, there won't be any.

In Madras, smalltown Oregon, the transportation budget has been supported up to now by hefty fees that were charged of developers, to be paid before construction began. Now the town is implementing a 1 cent gas tax, to be increased to 3 cents at a rate of 1 cent/year. The people are upset that the burden is being lifted from developers, and placed on their shoulders. What they don't seem to realize is that the developers aren't going to be building so much new stuff anymore. With people out of work and relearning frugality, developers will be shutting down operations and going to retire in the tropics. There won't be commercial projects to support big roads and fancy intersections. If we want to be able to get around on our roads, we are going to have to maintain them more at the local level.

The nice thing about a gas tax is that it is guaranteed to provide reasonable income for some time to come. The price of gas will generally trend upward as supplies wane. People will gradually reduce their automobile use, but it is not going to happen overnight. The ones who can afford to keep driving can also afford to pay the tax. Some people will have to give up driving. They aren't going to like it. But they are going to have no choice. And it won't be a measly 3 cent tax that pushes them over the edge. There are lots of other factors.

I personally would love to live in a post-personal-automobile world. I don't know if I will live long enough to see the day, but I would love to. I am hoping to find a home where corporations don't have a stranglehold on the economy, because as fuel gets more expensive and people get more poor, they are going to back out, leaving eyesores and wastelands where once consumers rampaged for cheap plastic shit.
Tags: america, automobiles, driving, government, infrastructure, oil, taxes, the long emergency

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