12/6: Does road funding need to change?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The emergence of high-mileage autos and electric cars means that a traditional way of funding highways and maintenance — the gasoline tax — is in jeopardy. That’s one reason we may see more and more toll roads.

Yet, the largely empty high-occupancy toll lanes on I-85 represent another line of thought — that government no longer works well for the people.

What do you think?

4 comments Add your comment

LEADFOOT

December 7th, 2011
12:06 am

Gas is high enough as it is so a tax increase is completely out of the question, but if they upped that speed limit a little bit more to about 80 m.p.h. then maybe we might be able to talk about tolls.

Doug

December 6th, 2011
12:30 pm

Conservative Republican here, but I would NOT oppose doubling the Georgia Gasoline and Diesel taxes and putting that money toward all transportation projects. The tax needs to change, be a percentage of the wholesale price, not a fixed price per gallon. We are underfunding our infrastructure with the current revenue model, Paying 2011 prices on a 1970’s revenue. The cost per gallon would not rise that much

Angus

December 6th, 2011
12:04 pm

While tolls and Road Scholar’s mileage tax would be good in that they are user fees. They both would require significant investments to establish and maintain – and establish more gubmint bureaucracy, expenses.

The gas tax mechanism is there. Just raise the tax – and keep raising it as efficiencies increase.

We need an instant infusion of funds. The TSPLOST could have been that, had it not been so politically compromised.

(side note #1: Electric cars as the boogeyman? That’s funny. The Nissan Leaf gets about 100 efficiently-driven miles (i.e. 50MPH on a flat road with a tail wind) per charge and takes eight hours to charge. And it costs about $33k. Electric cars will not replace a significant number of gas-burners anytime soon.)

(side note #2: I would love to see tolls and mileage taxes that reflected true road costs – just to listen to the anti-transit, “transit must pay for itself” crowd whine at the true costs of asphalt.)

Road Scholar

December 6th, 2011
10:44 am

What about a mileage tax based on the weight of the vehicle. Heavier vehicles cause more damage to the pavement. Collection may be a challenge; it could be collected at years end, but that lump sum payment may be awkward since the gas tax is collected monthly. (Gas tax is not collected at the pump; it is collected from the distributor.)Also the motorists barely know the gas tax is collected per gallon; if it was lump sum there could be “sticker shock”.

Also the mileage tax could be variable based on congestion levels and time of day travel. This may “smooth” the peaks of roadway usage similar to the managed lane toll variation based on congestion.

The issue with toll roads is that if you toll, say I285, then motorists may change there route to avoid the toll! This could congest the other arterials and local roads. Somehow an efficient and fair method needs to be developed. We need topay for construction, operations, and maintenance.