writes in the News & Observer in North Carolina, the problem is that people are are driving more miles every year, but they’re buying less gas.
Although better fuel economy sounds great for the pocketbook and good for the planet, it spells trouble for our long-term reliance on gas-tax money to finance transit and highway needs.
After spending more than it takes in for several years, the federal Highway Trust Fund is expected to run out of money for road projects by 2009.
So, as part of a $16.5 million nationwide study over the next two years, 450 Triangle drivers will help road-test a new way to pay for transportation — by the mile, not by the gallon.
Replacing the fuel tax with a mileage fee would be a long-range idea — and possibly a long shot.
Long shot or not, the issue of how to pay for state and federal roads does not to seem to going away any way soon.
See also New Technology for an Old Dilemma by Paul Sorensen and Brian Taylor
Colorado’s method of paying for highways and transit is “antiquated, inadequate and in need of overhaul,” Gov. Bill Ritter said Thursday as he challenged state leaders to come up with new ways of funding transportation.
Between now and November, a new transportation-finance panel will explore a variety of “sustainable revenue streams” for roads and mass transit in Colorado that could include tax increases, toll roads and other “public-private partnerships,” Ritter said at a transportation summit attended by more than 500 people at the Colorado Convention Center. Read full article by Jeffrey Leib, Denver Post Staff Writer
Denver Post Columnist Bob Ewegen highlights some of the the challenges of solving the transportation funding puzzle in Sunday’s Denver Post.
Years ago, the Denver Post editorial page proposed raising the state’s motor fuel tax of 22 cents a gallon by a dime.
We suggested using half of that revenue to repair the state’s crumbling highway network. The other nickel would have been earmarked to pay off bonds, so the state could borrow money to begin catching up on its mounting backlog of transportation needs.
Then-Gov. Roy Romer was seldom averse to spending money. Nonetheless, he objected to using bonds to accelerate highway construction, telling The Post’s editorial board he preferred “pay-as-you-go” construction.
“Governor,” I snapped back in exasperation, “we’re paying all right. But we’re not going.”
That was 1996. In the decade since, Colorado’s highway construction backlog has only grown worse. It now constitutes one of the two huge fiscal problems that Bill Ritter will face when he’s sworn in as governor next month, the other being how to pay for our starving higher education system.
To read the full article