Richard G. Little: Gas tax a necessity

September 8, 2013 

Gas tax a necessity

Although the “gas tax” has become a far less productive revenue source for transportation than it once was, it is still relatively efficient (“Gas tax running out of gas,” Aug. 27).

A 10-cent increase in the gas tax would raise about half a billion dollars annually and cost someone who drives 20,000 miles a year in a vehicle that gets 20 mpg about a quarter a day. Although this would no doubt be wildly unpopular, the simple truth is that government raises revenue either through taxes or fees. If the state is not willing to raise taxes, then it would need to consider user fees such as tolls. There is no way to finesse this over the long term.

Unless there is a fundamental sea change in how the state approaches transportation funding, necessary improvements to the state’s highways and other transportation infrastructure will be long-delayed if provided at all. Setting priorities and improving efficiency can only take us so far.

North Carolina needs to develop dependable and sustainable revenue streams that match the needs and expectations of its citizens and its economy.

Richard G. Little


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