We were pleased to find this article by the Washington Post discussing the bipartisan Senate proposal to increase the federal gas tax by six cents a gallon over each of the next two years. Very pleased! This will save us a lot of time and effort as we’re now able to cancel our planned Boycott Gas For Higher Taxes protests that were to take place in 16 cities this summer.
The proposal came from “Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and won quick endorsement from an array of advocates [including ratpag] ranging from road builders to AAA.” The proposal would also link the tax rate with inflation so as to prevent the weakening of the tax as the past 21 years (the time since the last increase) have done.
While we’re happy that we might find some additional funding for transportation (of course, this all has to make its way through the House, too), we want to temper the self-congratulations just a little bit. Senator Murphy described it as “bold action to fund the Highway Trust Fund” and that “raising the gas tax isn’t an easy choice, but we’re not elected to make easy decisions” while, further down in the article, one called the plan “gutsy.” ratpag disagrees with such assessments for the following reasons:
- It is not “bold” or “gutsy” to fund the Highway Trust Fund or any such transportation bill. If you want things you have to pay for them, plain and simple. It’d be bold – and incredibly stupid – to not fund transportation!
- Despite Business Insider’s suggestion that raising the gas tax is a “very unpopular” way to save the Highway Trust Fund the majority (52%) of Americans, according to a AAA survey, are “willing to pay higher fuel taxes per month on average for better roads, bridges, and mass transit systems.”
- In addition, AAA found that “two-thirds of Americans (68 percent) believe the federal government should invest more than it does now on roads, bridges, and mass transit systems”.
Very bold, indeed, listening to what your constituents want. ratpag doesn’t want to be bitter or cynical – we’re very happy that transportation may be on the way to more, very needed, funding. We just think the back-slapping should at least be temporarily put on hold. ratpag’s been burned too many times before and we think it best to not get ahead of ourselves until this bill is somehow pushed through the House and set on the President’s desk.
Oh, and Business Insider – constantly referring to reasonable tax increases as “politically unpalatable,” “broadly unpopular,” and something that “would hit a huge number of Americans where it would hurt most” – without any reference or supporting documentation – that doesn’t help.
So ratpag says thanks to those who are working to do something to get more funding in transportation. We encourage all of our readers to write Congressmen and Senators, newspapers and blogs, in support of raising funding for rail and transit and all transportation. In fact, a good time would be right now while you’re clearly doing nothing at work! It’s easy – make your letter short, sweet, and to the point so the interns don’t have too much to read.