Roads are crumbling, bridges are collapsing, and what was once considered one of the greatest achievements of any government anywhere has fallen into embarrassing disrepair. I am of course discussing our nation’s infrastructure. Last year, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the U.S. infrastructure a D+.

When it comes to the most basic functions of government we barely get a passing grade.

How did this happen? Credit a combination of benign neglect and anti-tax ideology run amok.

The Revenue Act of 1932 created the U.S.’s federal gasoline tax, charging 1 cent a gallon. Three decades later, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956.That created one of the world’s great transportation networks, the interstate highway system, at an inflation-adjusted cost of about a half-trillion dollars. ( See the History of the Interstate Highway Systemfor more details.)  Continues here

Category: Energy, Really, really bad calls, Taxes and Policy

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

10 Responses to “Gasoline Tax, Unchanged Since 1993, is Due for an Increase”

  1. A says:

    Everything is relative.

    Take a drive north of the border to see what high gas prices can be. Or, for that matter, rent a car in Europe. Appreciate how cheap it is in America. And how far it has to go.

  2. constantnormal says:

    A tax increase? In Bananamerica? Surely you jest …

    … more likely is that the insane privatize-everything crowd will have us privatize the Interstate Highway System, with every interstate becoming a toll road, shortly followed by states desperate for cash (but unable to raise taxes) selling state highways and eventually all state-managed roadways to private equity firms and other capital vulture outfits …

    Don’t snicker at this idea, it could happen, it works that way elsewhere on the planet …

  3. BoKolis says:

    Tax yourself if you want, as I am not signing off on any more use taxes.

    We could have fought a few less wars, built a few less bombs, monitored a few less e-mails. We could more efficiently manage our tax base (READ: Hammer those with nothing better to do with their money than to use it to forge and/or sidestep legislation). With the money spent on growth-hormone therapy for banks the bailouts- the time to do this sort of work is when the private sector won’t support the labor force- it would’ve been job-done…and probably a few airports (AND I snuck in a pet project for BR), to boot.

    Let those that would whinge about Big Government be first to financially support this catch-up. They can then drive the speed limit in the passing lane and I won’t say spit.

  4. thomas hudson says:

    as long as the 5 cents a gallon goes directly to road maintantance and is not siphoned off for other government expenses, i am a big supporter of your suggestion here. if we could also streamline and fast track the regulatory processes to complete construction projects, it would also make the investments more efficient and far reaching. it is tremendously more difficult to get a project started than it was when the original infrastructure was built.

    one quibble i have with the bloomberg article is the headline picture. if that is the 35w bridge in minnesota, than the caption of ‘result of neglected maintenance’ could be argued to be incorrect. the NTSB found that it was due to a design flaw from when it was built. the gussets were the wrong size. the bridge was actually under maintenance at the time (note the cement truck in the picture), and part of the issue was the amount of construction equipment and material on the bridge at the time.

    • th–

      see this as “an exactitude”..

      …The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission can say the pay-to-play scandal is a thing of the past. The accused employees are gone and policies have changed.

      But the road system has another very current crisis: It’s going broke.

      The state Legislature passed Act 44 in 2007 with the support of then-Turnpike Commission CEO Joe Brimmeier, partly as a way to increase transportation funding without having to privatize the commission, which might have ended decades of political patronage.

      In theory, the federal government would have allowed the turnpike to toll Interstate 80. Flush with cash — again, theoretically — Act 44 then required the turnpike to turn around and pay PennDOT massive sums, up to $900 million at first, before settling at $450 million a year until 2057.

      When the feds denied permission to toll I-80, in part because toll money would have been passed onto PennDOT for mass transit funding, the turnpike’s books became unbalanced.

      Brimmeier and turnpike commissioners once assured legislators the turnpike would be able to pay I-80 no matter what the feds ruled. Instead, their annual check has come almost entirely from borrowed money….”

      “Taxes”? for what?which?where? We should wonder, at the min….

  5. 4whatitsworth says:

    A gas tax for better roads does seem like a no brainier except we can’t really trust the government with our money these days. Funds can be designated for one thing and redirected like this .

    We also need to fix the environmental and special interest group laws or funds can’t be deployed for construction project efficiently.

    If you invest in a bad institution you get a bad outcome I think we all know this.

  6. supercorm says:

    I’d say “buy E&C companies”. As long as the tax is used for what it was meant, go for it. In fact, roads, bridges, sewer systems, electricity grids, gov. buildings (ie schools), all need to be fixed asap before it will cost even more …

    … and the gaz taxes, well, the users have to pay it !

  7. supercorm says:

    … how do you tax electric cars btw ?!

    • DeDude says:

      You don’t. The electric cars have huge environmental benefits, and their owners should be rewarded for that by not paying the same fraction of road costs as the polluting vehicles. They also don’t benefit nearly as much from the oil company tax brakes and subsidies, and should be compensated for that both by direct and indirect subsidies for doing what is right for the environment and the future of the country/world.

  8. > Gasoline Tax, Unchanged Since 1993, is Due for an Increase

    Good luck with that. I happen to think infrastructure spending is a good idea . . . if it can be done well. And I think a lot of taxpayers question that. Here in Seattle several major transportation initiatives have suffered significant set backs due to costly miscues. This includes our waterfront tunneling project, which has literally ground to a halt deep underground. It will have been in that state for a full 16 months – at minimum – when everything is said and done while they try to work out a solution. Somebody will pay the costly tab for this, and citizens understand that somebody may well be . . . them.

    We just had a vote yesterday to raise taxes to improve our overwhelmed bus service – something else I support – and it was roundly voted down by taxpayers . . . taxpayers who were trying to send a message about government spending and the efficient use of their dollars.

    I think a gasoline tax hike would be political kryptonite right now.