Joe Urban | Sam Newberg, Urbanist

Gas-Tax Talk

Dateline: 10:39 am May 15, 2008 Filed under:

Three years ago the talk at dinner parties was how much people made on their condominiums. Now it is the price of gas. We’ve had it good for so long, and now people are getting nervous when they have to spend upwards of $100 to fill their tank. All of this emphasizes the need for an improved transportion bill by congress next year.

Unfortunately, the discussion revolves around how to get the price of gas back down. Even our presidential candidates float the idea of a federal “gas tax holiday” for the summer, a ridiculous notion considering our literally crumbling and underfunded road system. Congratulations to Senator Obama for taking a stand against it. Still, there is no high level discussion of the future of transportation funding.

Luckily, there are several groups trying to push for a more enlightened federal reauthorization, which is due to occur next year. A recent article in the Washington Post by Judith Rodin sheds light on the issue. It was reprinted in my local paper, the Star Tribune. Link to it here.

Rodin discusses the lack of transportation funding, even for existing roads and transit, but also points to the Center for Housing Policy report that indicates working families spend nearly as much or more for transportation as they do for housing. For a link to a previous Joe Urban entry that discusses this study, click here.

We need to worry less about the price and source of more oil and more about simply reducing our dependence on it. As individuals we need to find ways to drive less, and entities all the way up to the federal government need to be on board in this effort. The last thing we need is a gas tax holiday. A progressive federal highway bill is imperative.

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