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Is A Higher Gas Tax The Way To Pay For Road Repair?

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Every now and then, one of our posts sparks a nice online discussion. Typical topics: the fate of General Motors after the government bailout, whether hybrid cars are for conscientious citizens or effete wimps ... and, of course, taxes.

Yesterday, we asked readers to weigh in on a challenge facing the funders of highway and bridge repair all across the country. The problem is that as average gas mileage rises, less gasoline will be bought, so gas tax revenue will fall.

That means less money to keep our roads, bridges, and highways in good repair. And as you may have noticed, some of them aren't in great shape to start with.

Even worse, plug-in vehicles that travel some or all of their miles on grid electricity won't pay a penny of gasoline tax to support the roads they travel on.

Now Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN) is discussing a 10-percent increase in the Federal gas tax (currently 19.8 cents per gallon) to make up a projected shortfall of hundreds of billions of dollars in transportation funding.

So we'd like to invite you to join the discussion: Should the gas tax rise as Federal gas mileage standards get tougher too?

We're eager to hear your thoughts, but please be polite: No ranting, just proposals for solving this challenge.

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Comment (1)
  1. A 10% increase is a joke, and will do little to resolve this problem. I am opposed to further increases, since state and federal governing bodies regularly raid these funds to pay for "other" items. However, if there must be a tax increase, make it temporary (5 yrs), make it transparent, and make it big enough to get people to drive MUCH more efficient vehicles. Go whole hog or not at all. If a big gas tax is explained as a process to marginalize the middle east and their impact on our country, foreign policy-wise, we can bite the bullet. This will do much less damage to our economy than cap-and-trade or a VAT.

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