Obama’s Transportation Bill & Highway Taxes

A good article in the Herald yesterday morning raised awareness about Obama’s Transportation Bill letting individual states use Tolls for regular maintenance on Interstate highways.  Currently, states cannot add a toll tax unless it’s for new construction.  This means that “freeways” such as Chicago’s Eisenhower and Kennedy Expressway could soon see tolls as a way to fund future repairs and maintenance.

The trucking industry is against this method of taxation as it disproportionately hits truckers hardest.  The ATA (American Trucking Association) supports an increase in fuel tax as the only fair method to fund highway spending.  The highway trust fund is funded with an $0.18 per gallon tax, which has not been raised since the 1980’s.  The trust is actually collecting less money today than it did 20 years ago as more people use mass transit and more fuel-efficient vehicles.  Some people favor a “mileage tax” but that would require some kind of GPS vehicle reporting devise in all autos.  The anti-government and privacy movement would have a real hard time with the government knowing every move we make.  I don’t blame them for that.

Congress passed the Highway Trust Fund in October 2012 as a two-year deal, but the Fund will run dry this August.  Without some long-term solution, states will not be able to make any long-term infrastructure plans for highways and bridges.

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