By Ken Selvaggi
WAVE 3 Vice President and General Manager
Left unsaid among the tax talk during the President's State of the Union address this week was the archaic way we pay for our transportation network in this country.
The cost of roads is up, more cars drive on them, and more miles are being driven. Yet fuel tax revenue has dropped 20% over the past 10 years.
In the first three months of the year 2000, a total of $68 billion was collected in fuel taxes on the federal, state and local level. In the first three months of the year 2010, a total of $55 billion was collected.
The reason is simple – the gas tax is on the fuel we buy and we are buying less because we are driving more fuel efficient cars. And some of us are not buying gas at all to drive.
The next generation of vehicles, powered by electricity, natural gas, hydrogen, and compressed air are or will be driving on our roadways for free.
A user fee could be the answer, but something must be done to address this issue before our roads join our bridges as crumbling infrastructure and an economy struggling to move forward gets stalled again.
We are seeing firsthand now how bridge closings can impact our economy. We don't want road closings to follow.