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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

Obama Proposes Tolls on Interstates Across Nation

Posted by on May. 3, 2014 at 7:11 PM
  • 55 Replies

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/white-house-opens-door-to-tolls-on-interstate-highways-removing-long-standing-prohibition/2014/04/29/5d2b9f30-cfac-11e3-b812-0c92213941f4_story.html

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-Texas/2014/04/30/Obama-Proposes-Tolls-on-Interstates-Across-Nation

Obama Proposes Tolls on Interstates Across Nation 178 13 644 5 Email Article Print article Send a Tip by Chuck DeVore 30 Apr 2014 1157 post a comment Obama preparing transportation plan Obama preparing transportation plan As with many federal accounts, the Highway Trust Fund is running on empty. Refilled with the 18.4-cent per gallon gas tax and disbursed by politicians and bureaucrats in Washington, the federal highway fund faces a $63 billion shortfall through 2018. Texas gets $2-3 billion per year from the fund which goes towards the roughly $7 billion in yearly Texas Department of Transportation expenditures. A shortage of funds tends to concentrate the mind—which is why the White House just proposed lifting an old federal restriction against tolling on 46,000 miles of interstate roads. This would allow states to collect tolls on federal interstates for the purpose of funding repairs and expansion. Organized labor loves the idea as they expect to get the added work at inflated prevailing wages mandated by federal law. Folks who own the companies that pour concrete love the idea, as they expect to get the new contracts, coupled with reforms to streamline environmental permitting State transportation officials love the idea as they see bigger budgets. There’s even something for the progressive-environmentalist crowd. Buried within the White House’s proposal are provisions to double funding for inner city mass transit to $22 billion while increasing potential fines on automakers by nine-fold to $300 million. What commuters and taxpayers may think of adding tolls on top of taxes is another story however—one that takes a back seat to the powerful interests now speaking to our representatives in Washington. Of course, we’ve seen this rodeo before: government gets bigger, borrows and spends more tax money, and then, when funds get squeezed, politicians seek ways to increase taxes, fees, or tolls for things large numbers of voters actually use or want, such as safe streets or free-flowing roads. Meanwhile, general revenue that once paid for critical items gets shifted to growing the welfare state and swelling bureaucratic power. When the current federal highway bill expires on September 30, Congress should consider the White House’s proposal to allow states to charge tolls on interstates. But, Congress should go further by returning transportation funding and policy back to the states where it belongs. With states in control of their own transportation destiny, local priorities and sensibilities could more readily be met than is now the case where substantial swaths of transportation policy are determined by federal statute or regulation. For instance, if a state wished to continue federal excise taxes on gasoline and diesel as state taxes, it could. Alternatively, a state might reduce fuel taxes and institute tolls instead. The latter serving not only as a source of revenue, but also as a demand pricing tool, akin to matinee pricing at a theater, designed to encourage drivers to use interstates during off-peak hours. Of course, some states might simply decide to take the federal gas tax money and plow it into light or high speed rail, buses, or even Medicaid or education. The point is: decisions about how to spend tax money on transportation are best made at a state level, not in Washington, D.C. Former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison once proposed a bill to allow states to withdraw entirely from the Federal Highway Trust fund, and thus keep federal fuel taxes in any state that so chose. This bill was in response to the inherent inequities of a centralized program that collected the gas tax money, skimmed some off the top for bureaucracy and rules writing, and then doled it out, often with politics in mind. Since 1959, Texas has seen about 81 cents for every dollar of federal fuel excise taxes collected. Alaska gets $4 back for every dollar put in. The D.C. Beltway region gets more than half of its transportation funding from the federal government; Texas, around 44 percent in recent years. Due to increased federal borrowing and general revenue support to the federal Highway Trust Fund, Texas has seen more money come from Washington, but the additional largess was borrowed money—money that is soon to dry up. Texas would do far better running its own transportation affairs. Turning Texas interstates into toll roads? Maybe, maybe not. Returning Texas fuel taxes to Texas? That’s a resounding yes! The Hon. Chuck DeVore is the Vice President of Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Follow him on Twitter @chuckdevore

by on May. 3, 2014 at 7:11 PM
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Replies (1-10):
nonyobizniz
by Member on May. 3, 2014 at 7:18 PM
2 moms liked this

i thought taxes paid for infrastructure?

motha2daDuchess
by Bruja on May. 3, 2014 at 7:24 PM
1 mom liked this

Breitbart.....

12hellokitty
by Platinum Member on May. 3, 2014 at 7:44 PM
1 mom liked this

I thought stimulus 1 paid for repairs to all the broken roads and infrastructure?  You know all those "shovel ready jobs" Obama ginned up....

supermonstermom
by Silver Member on May. 3, 2014 at 8:47 PM

NY Times is reporting it also.


Quoting motha2daDuchess:

Breitbart.....


LauraKW
by "Dude!" on May. 3, 2014 at 9:08 PM
6 moms liked this
Some interstates already have tolls. I have no problem paying tolls to make sure I don't hit potholes every mile.
denise3680
by Gold Member on May. 3, 2014 at 9:12 PM
2 moms liked this

we have toll roads here, infact the new expansion for 540 has tolls, so what I do not mind paying tolls as long as the roads are nice:/ 

meriana
by Platinum Member on May. 3, 2014 at 9:15 PM
1 mom liked this

It would certainly keep a lot of people from traveling during the summer months but could prove an issue for all those that must use interstates to get to work every day. Rates right up there with the tax per mile driven idea...those that can afford stuff like this often don't give it a second thought but many cannot afford to pay a toll everytime they need to travel on an interstate or pay a tax on every mile they drive.

1stmuslimah
by Silver Member on May. 3, 2014 at 9:21 PM
2 moms liked this

I have not seen a toll since I was in Boston in 1994. We don't have them here in Michigan but we also have the worse roads in the country costing us a ton in auto repairs a year.

 The salt and all the chemicals along with the below zero temperatures in the winters just destroys the roads and they don't fix them good. They fill patches with asphalt which is nothing but a cheap quick fix.

When coming back from Canada or out of state I always know when I crossed the state line by all the bumps and pot holes in road.

I would much rather have a toll or 2 and throw .50 a dollar in it than the other alternative they are talking about which is adding another 19% to gas taxes and charging us every year according to how many miles we put on our car in a years time.

As little as I drive none of it, any solution is not going to effect me much but my daughter has her permit and will have her license in 4 months and will driving to work, school, and everywhere in between and I would hate for her to have such a big expense of the extra gas tax and charge for millage a year.

Something has got to be done though. We go through cars like crazy with allot of repair expenses in between buying cars from all the damage from the roads. I think tolls sound like a reasonable solution if they will use the money to fix our roads.

 




 



 


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denise3680
by Gold Member on May. 3, 2014 at 9:28 PM
1 mom liked this

 

I know what yo mean about terrible roads, the roads in Illinois are horrible I lived in Highland park, the pot holes were so big you could lose a small car in them:)  We had some toll roads up there but obviously not enough to keep up the maintenance of the roads.

Quoting 1stmuslimah:

I have not seen a toll since I was in Boston in 1994. We don't have them here in Michigan but we also have the worse roads in the country costing us a ton in auto repairs a year.

 The salt and all the chemicals along with the below zero temperatures in the winters just destroys the roads and they don't fix them good. They fill patches with asphalt which is nothing but a cheap quick fix.

When coming back from Canada or out of state I always know when I crossed the state line by all the bumps and pot holes in road.

I would much rather have a toll or 2 and throw .50 a dollar in it than the other alternative they are talking about which is adding another 19% to gas taxes and charging us every year according to how many miles we put on our car in a years time.

As little as I drive none of it, any solution is not going to effect me much but my daughter has her permit and will have her license in 4 months and will driving to work, school, and everywhere in between and I would hate for her to have such a big expense of the extra gas tax and charge for millage a year.

Something has got to be done though. We go through cars like crazy with allot of repair expenses in between buying cars from all the damage from the roads. I think tolls sound like a reasonable solution if they will use the money to fix our roads.

 

Bonnie_
by Bronze Member on May. 3, 2014 at 10:29 PM
3 moms liked this

Oh  I'm sure they will  fix all the roads.  Just  like  when  they   agreed  for states  to  do lotteries  they said the  money  would  go  for improvements  for schools  and not  for the District  Offices  to   give themselves ridiculously  high  pay raises and retirement  packages...   or for teachers  to have plastic surgeries...


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