Friday, December 5, 2014

Hold off on raising the gas tax.

Sometime I change my mind. I don't think I change my principles but sometimes situations change or I get more information about something and reach a different conclusion.

Yesterday I opined that it may be time to raise the gas tax. I said things we want cost money and the gas tax has not been increased in 25 years.  I was persuaded by the argument that the gas tax was not keeping up with the rising cost of building and maintaining Tennessee’s roads and bridges and that improved fuel efficiency standards and the rise of hybrid and electric cars are hurting gas tax collection.

I did point out that I thought the state had wasted lots of money over the years on its program of  having a four lane highway connect each of Tennessee's 95 counties to an interstate but I said that was water under the bridge and now we had to have the money we need to maintain a good highway system.

Today, I was going through an old stack of accumulated mail and things I was going to read but had put aside and came across the Beacon Center's 2014 Pork Report. In it was this item:

How would you like to walk into your airport terminal and find "fireplaces, wood
Cleveland Regional JetPort
furniture and even a water feature,” along with restaurants, recliners and "quite rooms for a ‘siesta’?” Perhaps you should become a corporate millionaire, buy a jet, and plan a layover in Cleveland Regional Jetport. While you’re there, make sure to thank Tennessee taxpayers, who shelled out $42.2 million in funding from the Tennessee Department of Transportation to the City of  Cleveland. Apparently, Cleveland officials felt our well-to-do comrades should not be relegated to commuting with the common folk from the Chattanooga airport, just 30 miles away.
If the Department of Transportation can spend over $42 million on building a luxury jet port for the city of Cleveland, maybe the gas tax is sufficient to fund the roads and bridges we need.

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