Government Looking to Punish Americans for Driving Less?

January 3, 2009

Washington (ChattahBox) — In the end we all know we’re going to pay dearly for the collapse of wall street and these bailouts. One of the perhaps nicer things about this recession is that many Americans eliminated frivolous activities and started driving less to cut expenses, which has helped significantly lower gas prices. However a side-effect of that is fuel taxes aren’t raising as much money for transit programs. With fossil fuel consumption, down the government is now considering hiking the gas tax instead of just trying to manage its money better, like the rest of us.
The National Commission on Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing, a 15-member panel created by Congress (naturally), is set to issue a report expected in late January, that will urge Congress to raise the gas tax by 10 cents a gallon and the diesel tax by 12 cents to 15 cents a gallon, as a start. The commission will also recommend that states raise their fuel taxes and make greater use of toll roads and fees for rush-hour driving. State fuel taxes vary from state to state. The commission will supposedly recommend tying the fuel tax rates to inflation.

Commission members feel the government must find more road and bridge building money somewhere to repair our sagging highway infastructure. However not only are Americans driving less they are switching to more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, and a shift to new fuels and technologies like plug-in hybrid electric cars will further erode gasoline sales. Also a gas tax hike might be politically treacherous for Democratic leaders in Congress. A gas tax hike was one of the reasons they lost control of the House and Senate in the 1994 elections. President-elect Barack Obama has expressed concern about raising fuel taxes in the current economic climate.


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