Is the gas tax too high or too low?

In today’s AJC, conservative columnist Jim Wooten suggests phasing out the 18.5-cent federal gas tax and letting states decide which projects to fund.

Taxing authority should be returned to the states. State officials, and not
Congress, should be making decisions about what projects are built where. The
first money should be spent on improving major transportation corridors.

That is the exact opposite of what “Hot, Flat, and Crowded” author Thomas L. Friedman says we need if we are going to tackle our clean energy needs, which are directly tied to how we get around.
Producing new energy, or protecting the environment—in the Energy-Climate era, which is more important? Is it possible to do both? How we are going to do either without a price signal—i.e. gasoline or carbon tax—beats me.
Friedman says until we stop encouraging people to drive large, single-occupancy vehicles in more and more lanes, we will continue to choke our air and enrich petro-dictatorships that send money to people who want to hurt us.

Can we really expect each individual state to come up with a plan to stop this cycle?

Posted in Beyond Parking on Jan 06, 2009

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