Paying for Infrastructure
Our representatives in DC don't agree on much. They do agree that our infrastructure needs improvements and repairs. That is the easy part. Spending money always seems easy for our reps in DC. The hard part is how to pay for it. It is not that I like having my taxes rasied. On those days when I pay my quarterlies, don't even mention raising taxes - of any kind. On the other days, I can be somewhat reasonable.
We don't just pay our taxes once a quarter. We are paying them constantly. A few weeks ago, I ordered a $2 breakfast that cost $2.25 with tax. Every time we fuel we pay taxes. Most taxes have risen. The federal fuel tax has ot risen in decades. With the improvement that we have made in MPG the per mile rate has actually decreased. We pay for our base plates. We pay a heavy duty vehicle fee. We pay tolls. We pay Federal Excise Tax.
The Federal Excise Tax is a barrier to efficiency. If you buy a new trcuk it can add well over $10,000 and probably a lot more to the cost of that truck. Want to buy a new aerodycnamic trailer? Prepare to pay extra. While the government has mandated that we build environmentally freindlier trucks, they put up a barrier to actually purchasing one. It does not seem logical that if the government wants us to be environemantally friendly that they should tax us for being so. I know. You can't apply logic to governent.
Then there is our tollway system. You want to talk about a barrier to efficiency. Take the 81 miles of tollway between the Kenosha, WI and Gary, IN. Nowadays it costs me $28.25. When the federal fuel tax was raised the last time that same route cost me $7.50. It is often more profitable, but less efficient to travel the 75 miles down US 41. Yes, it has 13 stop lights. Time it well and you may hit four red lights. Than you get to go thorugh the lovely Jane Byrne interchange. It also includes the famous Dan Ryan Expressway. The high cost of the tollways is fscally encouraging us to take less efficient and lass safe roadways.
We also need to get over the idea that we over pay our fuel taxes now. Our fuel taxes do not cover the costs of our roads. More money flows from the general tax to the roads than from the fuel tax to the general tax. It is time to figure this out and get our roads fixed.