Posted: 11/25/15 04:26
by Dave Mindeman
Transportation is becoming a crisis of its own. Yeah, I know we have a dozen things on our plate - nobody seems to want to be talking about groads and bridges and light rail. But we are going to have to start addressing it....and soon.
With gas prices dipping below $2 a gallon, we should seize an opportunity. Yes, Middle East tensions could reverse that trend very quickly. But this small windfall for commuters will, more than likely, increase consumption and add to the wear and tear on the transportation infrastructure.
We should be thinking forward. I can hear the condescension from the GOP already, but now is the time for a gas tax...dedicated solely to transportation projects. I would also suggest that we make this tax fairly substantial - maybe 25 cents a gallon - but also make it mandatory that it sunset....that it be temporary.
Let's consider a 5 year term with this increase and then it leaves. I don't know if we have a 5 year window of lower gas prices, but we do have an immediate need for repairs and fixes. We could also consider addressing some of our commuter bottlenecks that cost us time and idling fuel.
As a gas tax, this money would have to go to transportation. Sure, we have had the legislature fiddle with these things before, but if we make a concrete budget for the projects we need right now, we can move the funds quickly and efficiently.
There is another reason for making this increase substantial and temporary. Our fossil fuel consumption needs to decrease faster. If we make repairs that make our roads more efficient, we save future dollars. If we complete light rail projects more quickly, we save on consumption, green house gases, and future money. If we reduce the bottlenecks in our commutes, it saves time, green house gases, and again, future dollars.
I know that many people will be shaking their heads at this, but a little pain for the temporary present could pay off big for forward thinking.
We could upgrade infrastructure which would be good for business, good for development, good for the environment, and a gift to the next generation.
We have taken so much away from our future; it's time we gave something back.