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Five Reasons Not to Raise the Gas Tax
The Huffington Post ^ | July 3, 2014 | Randal O'Toole

Posted on 07/05/2014 8:12:09 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks

The federal Highway Trust Fund is running out of money, and some senators have proposed to fix the problem by raising gas taxes. This, however, is the wrong solution because it treats the symptom, and not the underlying reason for the shortfall. Here are five reasons for not increasing gas taxes.

1. The problem is not a shortage of funds but an excess of spending.

For more than 50 years after Congress created the Highway Trust Fund in 1956 it was able to avoid a shortage of funds by a simple measure: it didn't spend more than was collected in gas taxes. That changed in 2008, when tax revenues declined due to the financial crisis but Congress continued to spend as if the revenues were growing.

Since 2008, Congress has had to replenish the trust fund with $55 billion in general funds. This isn't, however, a subsidy to highways; in the last decade, Congress has diverted well over $55 billion of gas taxes to non-highway projects.

Increasing the gas tax would simply allow Congress to increase spending on often-frivolous projects that do nothing for highway travelers, with no guarantee that it would keep spending below revenues. Thus, in two or three years we would be likely to see the fund once again run out of money.

2. Our highway infrastructure isn't crumbling.

Contrary to popular reports, our highways and bridges are in great shape. Despite the fact that Congress has diverted well over a fifth of gas taxes to non-highway projects, the number of bridges considered "structurally deficient" has declined by more than 50 percent since 1990 and the average smoothness of our roads has increased every year.

(Excerpt) Read more at huffingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: bridges; congestionpricing; congress; gastax; highwayfunding; highways; infrastructure; roads; states; subsidies; taxes; tolls; transportation; userfees; vmt

1 posted on 07/05/2014 8:12:10 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

What? A HuffPo writer doesn’t want to pay more taxes? I think that this one would hit his own wallet hard.


2 posted on 07/05/2014 8:14:43 AM PDT by mrsmel (One Who Can See)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

The federal Highway Trust Fund is running out of money because of liberals sucking it off for bike trails, hiking baths and green belts and that’s just a start.


3 posted on 07/05/2014 8:15:59 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin.)
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To: mrsmel

If you figure how much of the highway trust fund is spent on prevailing wage contracts, state sales taxes and mitigation fees...we would have a lot more highways and less waste. Eliminate that waste first and then talk to us about what the rate of taxation needs to be.


4 posted on 07/05/2014 8:17:00 AM PDT by Oldexpat
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To: mrsmel

Randal O’Toole is actually with the Cato Institute.


5 posted on 07/05/2014 8:18:54 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Border Crisis = Cloward-Piven, Chicano-style!)
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To: cripplecreek

That’s actually one of Mr. O’Toole’s arguments.


6 posted on 07/05/2014 8:19:31 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Border Crisis = Cloward-Piven, Chicano-style!)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Stop spending OPM (other peoples’ money), libtards.


7 posted on 07/05/2014 8:19:50 AM PDT by carriage_hill ( Incoming fire always has the right of way.)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

My apologies, in that case.


8 posted on 07/05/2014 8:20:27 AM PDT by mrsmel (One Who Can See)
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To: mrsmel

He wants YOU to pay the taxes. Because YOU are the problem.

He, of course, should remain aloof and exempt!


9 posted on 07/05/2014 8:22:01 AM PDT by LucianOfSamasota (Tanstaafl - its not just for breakfast anymore...)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

” in 1956 it was able to avoid a shortage of funds by a simple measure: it didn’t spend more than was collected in gas taxes. “

AMAZING,

what a concept!


10 posted on 07/05/2014 8:22:33 AM PDT by MeshugeMikey ( "Never, never, never give up". Winston Churchill)
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To: LucianOfSamasota; mrsmel

I believe Mr. O’Toole is a libertarian, not an limousine liberal.


11 posted on 07/05/2014 8:25:23 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Border Crisis = Cloward-Piven, Chicano-style!)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

A few years back Karl Levin was seeking several million dollars out of transportation money to save part of Tiger Stadium in Detroit. He didn’t get it thank God.

The states and local governments do their fair share of feeding at the trough too. Just a few months ago my county was approved for $2 million from transportation funds to tear down a wall in a county park. Fortunately the public went ballistic over it and they decided to put the money into repairing roads. They did still used a couple hundred grand to repave the bike path through the hood.


12 posted on 07/05/2014 8:26:06 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin.)
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To: mrsmel

Bizarre.

When the lefties advocate for no tax increase you know its bad.

Feel kinda dirty agreeing with anything in the ‘Huff-poo’.

Then again you know what they say about a broken clock...


13 posted on 07/05/2014 8:26:56 AM PDT by glasseye
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Geeze Louise, it’s getting so a person can’t post without knowing the facts, anymore. LOL!


14 posted on 07/05/2014 8:29:36 AM PDT by mrsmel (One Who Can See)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Five Reasons Not To Raise The Gas Tax

1. Liberals like it
2.
3.
4.
5.

Like we need any more reasons to not want something.

15 posted on 07/05/2014 8:30:21 AM PDT by uglybiker (nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-BATMAN!)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
I can offer some insight on this issue, having worked in a field related to highway/transportation for more than two decades.

What's happened in recent decades is that the process for earmarking Federal funds for local projects has eliminated under a Congressional mandate. In its place, the Federal government has adopted a system of allocating Federal money for projects based on various measures of needs, priorities, etc. So the new game in town is to find state and local projects that could easily be financed through traditional funding measures, and look for ways to turn them into projects of "national importance" in order to get a large Federal match for them.

One issue is that what constitutes "national importance" changes over time. Highway safety is a big issue now, so any project that can be considered a safety improvement gets pushed up a project priority list. The same goes for something like "sustainability" and "resiliency," whatever the hell those are supposed to mean.

The basic problem here is that transportation is one of those areas of government where it's not practical to come up with a funding mechanism where the users pay directly for their use of the system. Tolls and transit fares are the closest you can get, and there are challenges and shortcomings with both of them.

16 posted on 07/05/2014 8:32:26 AM PDT by Alberta's Child ("What in the wide, wide world of sports is goin' on here?")
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To: Alberta's Child

“Resiliency”???

Does that mean a new meaningless buzzword is going to replace the meaningless “Sustainability”? Has “Sustainability hit its apogee and is finally going to crash back into Earth? One can only hope.

OT — I took my daughter out to dinner a few weeks back and our waitress (excuse me, “wait person”) was blathering on and on about how all the menu items were sustainable. I casually observed that the human race has managed to sustain itself before “sustainability” became all the rage. I pointed out that we’ve sustained ourselves pretty well before anybody taught us how to do so.

Boy, did she get all hot, huffy and indignant! She erupted with a “This means a lot to me. I studied it extensively at school.” It was all I could do to keep from busting a gut laughing at this clueless young dolt — but I kept my composure so my daughter wouldn’t think I’m the old curmudgeon that I really am.

Needless to say, her tip was minuscule. And my daughter probably thinks I’m a curmudgeon anyway.


17 posted on 07/05/2014 8:49:42 AM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

I cannot believe that a Cato Institute writer is advocating mandatory tracking of mileage on cars for purposes of tax collection.

I don’t like gas taxes, and I pay more per mile than most, but the alternatives are worse.


18 posted on 07/05/2014 8:55:50 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana ("If you're litigating against nuns, you've probably done something wrong."-Ted Cruz)
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To: cripplecreek

Don’t forget, light rail...


19 posted on 07/05/2014 8:59:25 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Rip it out by the roots.)
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To: Oldexpat

They finally waive the sales tax on road construction in Washington State.

The next thing down the pipe is trip taxes. Wsdot is starting pilot programs in a couple of years and I expect it to be a mandate to all states probably by the 2016 Highway spending bill and to be fully implemented by 2020.


20 posted on 07/05/2014 8:59:37 AM PDT by shotgun
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Is there MORE Than ONE????????????????????


21 posted on 07/05/2014 9:00:53 AM PDT by bandleader
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To: Dr. Sivana

Devil’s advocate here: how does one account for electric car usage? At some point this will be an issue. Personally I am for a libertarian view: abolish the tax an impose tolls. If you use it, pay for it. If you wish to drive on state roads they tax me enough.


22 posted on 07/05/2014 9:03:02 AM PDT by Vermont Lt (If you want to keep your dignity, you can keep it. Period........ Just kidding, you can't keep it.)
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To: shotgun
They finally waive the sales tax on road construction in Washington State.

That's good to hear. Such sales taxes are just another way to plunder transportation funds for other purposes. At least here, in Maryland, they just outright steal the money; the thievery is more honest than with a sales tax ruse.

23 posted on 07/05/2014 9:04:33 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Border Crisis = Cloward-Piven, Chicano-style!)
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To: Vermont Lt

The cost of toll booth operation is extremely high and inefficient. More efficient systems require tracking (ipass). Putting tolls on every publoc road would make those problems worse.

For electric cars, there could be a special charge either on the home meter for Leaf type cars, or at recharge stations for CA and Tesla type cars. Nike the sibsidy before you worry about collecting those.


24 posted on 07/05/2014 9:41:16 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana ("If you're litigating against nuns, you've probably done something wrong."-Ted Cruz)
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To: Dr. Sivana
The cost of toll booth operation is extremely high and inefficient useful for employing legions of unionized workers who will donate to and vote for Democrats.
25 posted on 07/05/2014 9:43:17 AM PDT by nascarnation (Toxic Baraq Syndrome: hopefully infecting a Dem candidate near you)
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To: Dr. Sivana

Gas taxes are a proxy for mileage taxation.


26 posted on 07/05/2014 9:54:17 AM PDT by ctdonath2 ("If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun" - Obama, setting RoE with his opposition)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

We rebuilt our waste water treatment plant ($19.4 M) and the building permit was $100,000 which supposedly covered plan reviews and all the required inspection time. As the public works director I challenged that cost as the funding agencies didn’t allow for permit costs but it did allow for inspections. So we paid the permit up front out of existing sewer reserves and each month the submitted the inspection costs for reimbursement. At the end of the project we only had actual costs of less than $30,000.

That caused the city to re-examine their permit fees!


27 posted on 07/05/2014 10:09:21 AM PDT by shotgun
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To: ctdonath2
Gas taxes are a proxy for mileage taxation.

With a LOT more privacy. Also, heavy cars and trucks that tend to wear on the road more wind up paying more taxes as they also tend to require more gas per mile.
28 posted on 07/05/2014 10:19:22 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana ("If you're litigating against nuns, you've probably done something wrong."-Ted Cruz)
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To: Dr. Sivana

Thing is, there’s no gas tax on non gas cars. My electric runabout car pays no taxes (worse, state pays me a lot to use it).


29 posted on 07/05/2014 11:04:30 AM PDT by ctdonath2 ("If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun" - Obama, setting RoE with his opposition)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

THIS came from Huffington post???

That person needs to refresh their resume immediately and have it printed out Monday morning.

They even committed the grievous sin of contradicting dear leader. Every other speech is about “our crumbling roads and bridges” even after the trillions of dollars on “shovel ready” stimulus spending.


30 posted on 07/05/2014 11:50:24 AM PDT by Organic Panic
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To: ctdonath2
Thing is, there’s no gas tax on non gas cars. My electric runabout car pays no taxes (worse, state pays me a lot to use it).

I know. But as I said earlier, until we stop subsidizing the purchase of said cars, it is a trifle to worry about the gas taxes.

If you drive a Prius, you are still ultimately getting all your initial energy from gasoline, and paying gas tax.

If you drive a Leaf, you are maxing out at 75 miles per day, or 54 cents per day MAX (2.5 gallons for such a small car), that turns out to over 14,000 days (over 40 years) of driving just to offset the $8,000 subsidy. Few drive Leaves that much.

If you drive a Tesla, at least right now with such a lack of recharging stations (which could also collect gas taxes) you might go 200 miles a day, or about $1.80 per day [10 gallons @ 20 mpg]), which means the subsidy pays for 10 years of driving.

Right now, it is not a big problem. The states are making it one because they want another spigot to tap. It won't be fueling tax OR mileage tax. It will be fuel tax AND mileage tax.
31 posted on 07/05/2014 11:55:31 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana ("If you're litigating against nuns, you've probably done something wrong."-Ted Cruz)
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To: Organic Panic

It’s not all one sided.
You must remember the true goal of progressives is to get us out of our personal vehicles and into public transpo.

So letting the roads go to he!! is a good approach to accomplish that.


32 posted on 07/05/2014 11:56:19 AM PDT by nascarnation (Toxic Baraq Syndrome: hopefully infecting a Dem candidate near you)
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To: Organic Panic
Don't judge a book by its cover.

Try this site if you have an aversion to HufPost. It's conservative.

Randal O'Toole doesn't control where his articles get posted.

33 posted on 07/05/2014 12:25:20 PM PDT by logician2u
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To: Organic Panic
Sorry, wrong article.

My apologies.

34 posted on 07/05/2014 1:10:43 PM PDT by logician2u
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

He forgot to mention that higher taxes on gas has a trickle down effect of causing consumer goods to go up in price. Someone has to pay to get the goods to market and the businesses will pass it along to the consumer.


35 posted on 07/09/2014 8:31:19 AM PDT by rfreedom4u (Your feelings don't trump my free speech!)
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