Thursday, January 14, 2010

Another call to raise the gas tax

It's become obvious to many people that if the price of gasoline is too low, there is little incentive to conserve. A solution is to raise the gas tax, so that instead of having gas price increases go to countries like Saudia Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Iran, some funds would remain here and could be funneled into road improvements and possibly alternative modes of transportation.

The Federal gas tax is currently 18.4¢/gal and was last raised in 1993, and the Virginia gas tax is one of the lowest in the country, 17.5¢/gal and was last raised in 1987. Bob Lutz, vice chairman of General Motors, thinks we should raise the Federal tax by 25¢ a year. This will encourage more people to drive fuel-efficient vehicles and to pursue alternatives to driving along, which is what most people do today.
"You either continue with inexpensive motor fuels and have to find other ways to incent the customer to buy hybrids and electric vehicles, such as the government credits," he said. "Or the other alternative is a gradual increase in the federal fuel tax of 25 cents a year, which in my estimation would have the benefit of giving automobile companies a planning base, and giving families that own vehicles a planning base."

Lutz said if a car buyer knew that gas that costs $2.75 a gallon today would likely go to $3 next year and $3.25 the year after that, it would prompt some buyers to say: "You know sweetheart—this time we should go one size down because we know what fuel is going to do."
When auto company executives come out in favor of increasing the gas tax, you know that times are changing.

Via m-bike.


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Who really pays for our roads?

Some motorists think that bicyclists should be taxed because they don't pay road user fees. They think that user fees pay for construction of our roads. Beside the fact that most cyclists own cars and buy gas, it's a fallacy that motorist user fees pay the full cost of our roads. According to a recent report from the PEW Charitable Trusts on trends in highway funding, only "51 percent of the nation's $193 billion set aside for highway construction and maintenance was generated through user fees." (via Greater Greater Washington)

As reported by DC.Streetsblog, "In Texas, he said that, on average, it cost the state 20-30 cents per person per mile to build and maintain a road to the suburbs, yet drivers only pay on average 2-3 cents per mile through the gas tax, vehicles fees, etc. 'What we found was that no road that we built in Texas paid for itself,' said Krusee. 'None.'"

We think we'll be referring to this information in the future so we've included links in our Cyclist Resources page under References, Road Taxes 1 and 2.

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Friday, August 7, 2009

NVTA supports gas tax increase

Wonders will never cease; the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, which claims to be "the only organization focused exclusively on working to make better transportation a reality for Northern Virginia citizens and businesses" (we beg to differ, that's FABB's mission as well), sent out an alert recently supporting a 10 cent gas tax increase: "No One is Suggesting Increasing the Gas Tax by $2.50 per gallon to Match Germany, but One Dime Doesn't Seem all that Unreasonable."

Support is building for an increased gas tax, which in Virginia is currently 17.5 cents per gallon and the Federal gas tax is 18.5 cents a gallon. The Federal tax hasn't been raised in 16 years. However, we can imagine how NVTA would like the funds to be spent, given their top priorities:
· I-66 to six lanes inside the Beltway.
· Route 28 to eight lanes with limited access between Route 7 and I-66.
· Right-of-way protection and construction of key segments of the Western Bypass.
· An Eastern Bypass.
· The Loudoun County and Tri-County Parkways.
· Expand Dulles Corridor transit/rail. (already funded)
· A Fourth I-95 lane Newington to Occoquan.
· I-66/Route 29 (Gainesville) Interchange.
· Improved I-66 express bus service west of Vienna.
· A limited access Maryland InterCounty Connector between I-270 and I-95 / Route 1.
· A new Northern Potomac River Crossing (Techway).

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