As the price of oil has dropped more than half this past year it's time to finally consider raising the federal gas taxes. Look, I hate taxes as much as anyone, but consider this; it has been nearly three decades since federal gas taxes were raised. And we know the current $18.4 cents per gallon is not hacking it. Remember the gas tax is what funds our infrastructure improvements, making bridges safe, repair our highways, etc. The last time I looked road and bridge improvements were underfunded to the tune of a trillion dollars.
So, we've got a tough choice to make; raise gas taxes or continue to see bridges crumble and gas eating traffic delays and severed tie rods from roads badly in need of repair. And now, when gas prices are on a downswing, is the perfect time to do it. The reason Congress has not acted to increase gas taxes in so long is because of the steady increase in the cost of gas through the years. So, I think Congress should bite the bullet, show a little courage and double the federal gas taxes.
Let's face it America; every time gas prices plunge you're going to have the same old players go out and buy themselves a nice gas guzzler. Happens every time gas prices begin to get reasonable. Well, it's time to get serious and quit providing incentives for these gas hogs. And whether you agree with Global Warming or not, it's always good to have a little less pollution, with fewer miles driven when driving is not necessary, but seemingly encouraged the minute Americans consider gas cheap enough to waste.
Oil market gurus are predicting relatively low gas prices throughout 2015. Indeed, even with increased gas taxes, we may see further declines in the overall price of gas. And to enjoy affordable gas while at the same time fixing our crumbling roads and bridges is a good thing.
As to how those gas taxes are managed and spent, I would love to see the gas tax revenue handled by the individual states; it takes just a small bit of the politics out of the equation, and the lower management level you can achieve, the less chance for waste, fraud and abuse. But that's probably not going to happen so we have to make do with what we can achieve.
And my final argument for the gas tax is this: While I don't like taxes, if I'm going to be taxed I want it to be a consumption type tax. How many of you have been in the checkout line at the grocery store and seen some yahoo pull out his food stamps and not been a bit resentful, knowing you paid for that food and knowing there are gamers galore who shouldn't be getting them....just as you resent people who shouldn't be on welfare, or drawing $2500 dollars a month Section 8 housing vouchers. Well, when you impose a sales tax on a product or service even the cheaters are paying their fair share.
So, rather than funding infrastructure from the general fund, as Congress has been doing, let's put the onus on funding our transportation requirements on the folks who are most using the service. Let's raise the gas tax and fully fund our infrastructure requirements.
That's my 18.4 cents for today. Happy motoring!