Fast Focus 'How should the state finance good roads?' Gas tax is fair

January 27, 2013 

While no one likes the idea of taxes being increased, the price is small compared to lost productivity because of slower travel times due to bad roads.

Do we finance our roads based on a "head tax," say $10 for every resident? Some would say that is fair, we all have equal access to the roads, etc. Unfortunately, the flat-tax approach would not capture any revenues from out-of-state drivers.

No, the fuel tax is the fairest way of getting the roads we need. Those who use the most fuel typically also use the roads; thus they get the benefit of good roads that their fuel taxes pay for. Truck drivers with heavier loads cause the most damage to our roads. Another source of income to finance our roads would be a "stud tax." All those ruts you see in our roads are caused by studded snow tires.

The fuel and stud tax should make everyone happy. It is a market-driven approach to revenue. If you don't want to pay the tax, then buy a more efficient vehicle and when the weather turns foul, slow down!


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