Friday, February 20, 2009

How to Fund Highways?

This article discusses how the Obama administration is less-than-united on the topic of raising tax dollars via a gasoline tax (as is done now) or via "new" means of tracking the miles driven by automobiles using—in the words of some—Orwellian technology.

Unlike so much of what our government spends money on today, highway maintenance is a proper object of government care. And consequently, some of our tax dollars should go toward building and maintaining roads, bridges, and the like. Currently, gas taxes provide the majority of those tax dollars.

The trend toward more full-efficient cars, combined with the advent of cars which do not use gasoline, has resulted in the consumption of fewer gallons of gasoline and therefore fewer tax revenues. Environmentalists should be lauding this, and in truth, this is a generally good thing.

However, while gasoline consumption is decreasing, highway usage is not; and roads continue to deteriorate with time. Government needs to consider how to fund the needed highway and bridge work using other sources.

So here's my solution: In order to increase money for highway and bridge work, decrease an equal (or more) amount of money somewhere else! This will have the side benefit of forcing government leaders to think in the same sort of way we "common folk" think, and might even get them in the habit of using this same thought pattern for other fiscal issues that may arise. Furthermore, once it is realized that the reduction of wasteful spending makes money available without reducing what actually gets done, even greater efficiencies can be acheived!

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