The Wall Street Journal had a thought on one. Our gas tax should go away. Completely.
The gas tax began in 1956 as a 3¢/gal tax that was intended to fund, via the Highway Trust Fund, building…highways and bridges. Today, that tax stands at 18.4¢/gal (and 24.4¢/gal on diesel). The gas tax has roughly matched inflation over those 58 years.
However, HTF spending has not, nor has it been kept to building highways and bridges. Today, that money also gets spent on
mass transit in merely six metro areas and sundry other programs for street cars, ferries, sidewalks, bike lanes, hiking trails, urban planning and even landscaping nationwide.
None of whose riders or users pay a single red cent to the HTF.
Simply using the taxes that are supposed to pay for highways to, well, pay for highways makes the HTF 98% solvent for the next decade, no tax increase necessary.
More than that, with more than 70% of highway spending already done by the states and not the Federal government, the States can allocate their own funds (a related example: who’s paying for California’s “high speed” train boondoggle? Not just Californians), make their own decisions regarding spending priorities, without freeloading off their neighboring states’ citizens’ tax money. The Federal gas (and diesel) tax can be done away with once the HTF’s spending is refocused.
Where are the Republicans on this? The WSJ had a thought on that, too, in the same article.