AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) made a very sobering report to the federal commission on highways on May 9. They pretty bluntly stated that the use of the roads by trucking is outpacing the revenue being collected to maintain the roads. Like vehicles without fuel, vehicles without well maintained roads are just stationary tin boxes. All those lane miles of highway, those graceful overpasses and on and off ramps, cost a pretty penny to build and need constant care. However, many states have a fixed fuel tax rate in pennies per gallon so that the amount that goes to maintain the roads is fixed no matter what the price of the fuel is. This would be fixed by pegging the tax to the fuel price like a normal sales tax. They asked for a 3 cent increase under the current highway bill followed by a 7 cent increase under the new bill. Current federal fuel tax on diesel fuel is about 18 cents.

AASHTO, of course, is looking out for itself. Its members are the professionals that use the tax funds collected to maintain and expand the highway system but they do have a point here. Thousands of 80,000 lb trucks cover the heaviest traveled sections of the highway system every day. "Today, the average Interstate highway mile caries 10,500 trucks. . ." As someone who appreciates the goods that trucks deliver, and likes to use the Interstate highway for myself once in a while, I can only say I am willing to pay the extra tax as long as it is wisely used. I don't want to see a roadway in so-called "designer colors". Nor do I want to see free driver massages paid for by that tax. Hmm, wait a minute! That is not a bad idea. Improves alertness!

[Source: Transportation Topics]


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