Illinois motorists may soon be the victims of their own good behavior. Drivers in the Land of Lincoln have been improving their fuel efficiency and driving more hybrid and electric cars that lessen their reliance on gasoline. As a result, the state isn't collecting as much money through its gasoline tax as it once did.
The fund that the United States uses for the maintenance of its roads is increasingly falling short, and one of the main reasons is the more efficient cars we drive today. As fuel economy improves, the amount raised by the nation's gas taxes falls, and it is those taxes that pay for much of the highway upkeep in the country. That leaves the question of how we continue to maintain the roads.
The United States Highway Trust Fund is getting closer to running out, and the federal government is scrambling to find a way to keep it in the black. The fund pays for a significant portion of the upkeep for the country's interstates, bridge repairs and some public transportation projects. It's currently backed under a two-year law that expires in September, but Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx claims the actual money in the account will be gone by the end of August. Without new financi
Prepare for a big political debate about the nation's infrastructure in the coming weeks. The Obama administration has sent a bill covering interstate repair funding for the next four years to Congress. While that might seem somewhat benign, the proposal is likely to prove contentious because it would be partially financed by ending some tax breaks to businesses. This likely won't go over well in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
The cost of a gallon of fuel may go up if a Democratic representative from Oregon gets his way. Earl Blumenauer has reportedly proposed a bill in the House of Representatives to raise the federal gas tax 15 cents per gallon in a bid to cover a shortfall in transportation funding (we told you so?). The current federal tax is 33.4 cents per gallon on gas and 42.8 cents per gallon of diesel.
This might come as puzzling news for any Angeleno or San Franciscan whose head is ringing from the most recent batch of potholes: California has the highest state gas taxes in the country, charging almost five times as much per gallon as low-tax states such as Alaska and Georgia, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) says.
The assessment of a gas tax and the role it plays in a state's transportation and overall budgets has been a topic of discussion for a while, and Virginia state governor Bob McDonnell is the latest to offer up another way to secure more revenue from the state's residents to pay for their roads and public transportation. McDonnell's proposal would eliminate Virginia's 17.5-percent gas tax entirely, with funds for infrastructure projects coming from an increase in the sales tax from five percent t
In a move likely to cause an uproar across Portland-area coffeehouses, Oregon's state legislature is again considering instituting a per-mile tax on super-fuel-efficient cars and electric vehicles. The state is looking to recuperate revenue lost because more fuel efficient vehicles on the road result in fewer dollars being collected from gas taxes.
In some ways, taxing people for the miles they drive makes sense. After all, we need money to keep roads in good shape and it already happens today, indirectly, through gasoline taxes. But when anyone talks about taxing the miles directly – i.e., through a mileage or "vehicle miles traveled" tax – hackles get raised.
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