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Financing road and bridge repair

Discussion in 'Business & Economics' started by foggedinn, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. foggedinn

    foggedinn New Member

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    How should road and bridge repair be financed? The current system uses fuel taxes (gas and diesel) and is in deficit by about 100 billion a year just to maintain the present system. Naturally, our roadways are getting in sad shape.

    Since tax increases are political death, how is the problem to be solved?

    Should our highway system be privitized? A series of tool roads to get from here to there. Would that even work? Profit maximazation and quarterly performance reports don't really lend themselves to infrastucture investment. Any longterm investment or thinking by a current manager would only benefit his replacement.

    I suppose $20/gal gas and $30/gal diesel would solve the problem without a need for increased revenue. Less usage would require less maintainence.
     
  2. Pandora

    Pandora Well-Known Member

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    Our Gov. Mr. Ted Tax and gouge me is going to take away our gas tax and start a mileage tax. He will track every car in the state and we will pay our tax based on how much we drive. Of course the government will be able to track every resident. Isn't that just so 1984. I liked him better when we could call him sleepy Ted or do nothing Ted, since he did nothing. Now he wants to do something, it’s a horrible something.

    He feels this is a better way for us to pay for the roads, but when he did get money for roads via gas tax, renewing tags, license plates and car registrations he just used the money for bike paths, jogging paths and skate parks and light rail. Our roads and bridges get worse even when we are taxed out the wahzoo to pay for it because he takes that money and puts it to other “green” things. I don’t suppose the mileage tax will do any better, the money will still go to retarded programs that have nothing to do with the people paying for them, all it will do is give our democrat government here in Oregon a way to spy on us. To bad he isn’t a republican so we can all be P.O. about it.
     
  3. foggedinn

    foggedinn New Member

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    I'd much rather hear constructive suggestions than listen to a pity party.
     
  4. Pandora

    Pandora Well-Known Member

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    Oh I am sorry, I did not mean to upset you, I was just telling you what happened this week in my state with this subject. I will try not to bother you again
     
  5. Mare Tranquillity

    Mare Tranquillity Active Member

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    How many minutes of the insane war would be required to pay for the annual road work? Let's see, according to Bloomberg's figures, the financial bailout has now topped $2 Trillion. How many roads and bridges could we rebuild for that amount? Bike paths are used by tax payers too, light rail infrastructure is an investiment in the future. Not as much of our economy should be sacrificed on the altar of the automobile, but even with the small amounts used for things besides auto roads you can see bridges and road construction going on all over the State.

    Isn't Ted's idea exactly what capitalists would advocate? It's not like the socialist system of taxing everybody for roads, it's just taxing the people who use them.
     
  6. Rockin Mark

    Rockin Mark New Member

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    how about big oils HUGE windfalls....................
     
  7. Hobo1

    Hobo1 Active Member

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    Time for a reality check - from a retired civil engineer.

    First, it is trucks - big trucks - that cause the highway system to deteriorate. Cars are not the problem - our freeways system would last as long as the Roman Apian Way if it weren't for trucks.

    What does that say? Namely that our heavy freight should be hauled by our quite profitable commercial railways. The only reason trucks are so popular for hauling freight is because they don't have to pay the true cost for the roads they use. Meanwhile, commercial railroads must maintain their own railways, plus share then with Amtrak.

    The logical conclusion is that we should keep our roadways for passenger transportation, and put our freight on the railways.

    It is very difficult to determine exactly where the Federal government spends its gas tax funds. It is very easy to name a program something like a Highway Improvement program and yet all the money goes to building bicycle lanes. We already know a big chunk of the Highway Trust Fund goes toward paying for very inefficient mass transit systems

    Another big question is how much of the money is spent on bureaucracy and how much actually gets put into highway improvements. In short, the Federal government may have been a good way to build an Interstate Highway System, but obviously operations and maintenance at a Federal level is filled with fat.

    One final point: the best way to maintain a highway system is through an on-going program. Road construction and maintenance requires a company that specializes in this type of construction. If you notice the equipment doing road repair it is very different from companies that build commercial buildings, etc. Plus the skill to run the equipment is also specialized.

    So if suddenly the Federal government increases highway maintenance budgets by a factor of 10 or 20, who do you think will do all this work? And how will it create millions of new jobs? It's illogical. There will be a massive shortage of equipment and skilled manpower - and in two or three years everything will return back to the current level.

    Who thinks of these crazy ideas?
     
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