Sunday, May 13, 2007

Are more road user fees needed?

When Minnesotans think about who pays for roads, they think that only car owners do. But in reality, we all do.

I do not own a car, but through local property taxes and Federal taxes, I pay for more roads than I will ever see. This is not an entirely awful scenario if I am able to get to the places I need to by transit. And if the roads are sufficient for Minnesota drivers. Roads are what allow me to take buses, and light-rail cannot serve every culdesac in the Twin Cities.

But there are many who feel that the roads are insufficient, especially when our population is still growing rapidly. ( this is where one could argue for better population policies, i.e. free sterilization ) Since the Twin Cities is the fastest growing metropolitan in the Upper Midwest, it would be wise to ensure our transportation system remains efficient. There is a greater investment needed in roads, but our transit system is grossly underbuilt. In fact, our transit system needs more light-rail lines to even call it modern.

With oil prices jumping 25 cents a gallon last week, it boggles my mind why Minnesotans balk at a 10 cent a gallon tax. After all, the oil industry is not going to freely build our roads - or a transit system that enables us to cut gas consumption. But if you don't mind paying more than $3 a gallon for gas, then why advocate to save 10 cents a gallon when it is $2.50?


Anonymous said...

"I do not own a car, but through local property taxes and Federal taxes, I pay for more roads than I will ever see."

Really. None of the food you eat, clothes you wear, or the stuff you use was brought to you by roads. And none of the people who work to make/produce any of that stuff uses roads to get to work. I wonder how many metrotransit people drive their cars to work?


Kevin Chavis said...

Metrotransit staff save a lot of energy and reduce CO2 simply by doing their jobs! If some take a car, their job does mitigate their impact.

Some Greens chastise me for using compact-fluorescent lightbulbs ( CFLs). The fact is they save 10mg of mercury that would be used at a coal plant to power an incadescent. The CFL contains 3-6mg of mercury, but can be re-used again if returned to the propery facility ( Wal-Mart does this now too). This leaves out the saved energy costs, less CO2, yet same quality light in my home!

But again, I concur. We need more conservation. Let's work together on this!