Looking at the current price of gas (less than two dollars in many places), I wonder if we’re not missing an opportunity. Over the last few years, it’s been reported that our transportation infrastructure is aging to the point of failure. Over 75% of the bridges in the nation need at least SOME maintenance work. Yet we continue to build new roads that will in the future need the same sort of maintenance.
The way I see it, the motoring public has been used to paying at least $4,00/gallon to feed their mechanized beasts. Now, thanks to the decision by OPEC to drive up the cost of producing fuel from shale, the nation is enjoying a respite. Sales of SUV size land yachts are up, while the smaller econo-models lose favor. It’s yet to be determined how the recent increase in public transit use will be affected, but my guess is it won’t be increasing.
So here’s my idea: take the difference between what was and what is ($4 – $2) and divide it by two. Set the “floor” for the price at the pump to $3.00 (the price at which studies show that public transport becomes attractive). The difference of $1 is an infrastructure maintenance tax, to be used SOLELY for the maintenance and upgrade of current infrastructure. Whether it’s a state or federal tax doesn’t matter; it’s use does! This accomplishes the following:
- it provides funds for infrastructure maintenance/improvement
- it keeps the price of fuel at a level that discourages land yacht purchases (don’t need those extra hydrocarbons in our lungs.)
- it continues to encourage the use of public transportation or active transportation in our urban environments. This will reduce the pollutants further, making our cities and town healthier for those who choose to live in them
Granted, this is a rough idea, and one that will not be readily accepted by motorists. But it is a way to a means