Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

October 22, 2013

How to pay for roads?

It’s coming, not tomorrow, but soon. You and I will be asked by our federal and state represen-tatives how the nation and Indiana should pay for the roads we drive.

In the 1800s, local property taxes covered the road fund. People with more time than money might meet their local obligations working on the roads when not working on their farms.

In the 1900s, it became clear that well-maintained road systems were vital to national, state and local interests. As the property tax diminished in importance, state and federal funding increased their roles in financing our roads.

Now, the existing system is under pressure and alternatives are being considered. In Indiana, we pay 18 cents per gallon of gas we buy at the pump.

Yet as our cars and trucks become more efficient, get more miles per gallon, revenues do not keep pace with miles driven.

One way out is to raise the gas tax. This would encourage more hybrid and electric car sales, a policy consistent with reducing air pollution. But it discriminates against older cars, trucks and their owners.

Another way does not discriminate between vehicles according to their power source: increase parking taxes. Tax land that is used for parking, even if there is no existing fee for parking (as at most malls). However, drivers (voters) hate parking fees, often feeling that parking is (or should be) provided by property owners or the city for free.

Perhaps less disliked is the idea of charging a mileage fee which would support the roads and bridges we use daily. It’s a simple idea with immense complexities.

In its purest form, the owner of a vehicle reports the mileage when the annual license on that vehicle is renewed. The next year the renewal form shows that mileage and the owner records the current mileage. Then the owner multiplies the number of miles driven in the interval (a year in most cases) by the tax rate.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • FREY: An ode to service days gone by There were many times in the past year that I walked by the small glass corner curio cabinet.I often glanced at the photographs from the corners of my eyes as I made my way past the nurse’s station and out the pass-coded locked doors.It is one of man

    August 22, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Looking out for youth and e-cigarettes Technology, it seems, finds solutions for just about everything. So it should surprise no one that the tobacco industry, under siege for years for marketing and selling unhealthy products, found a way around the anti-smoking fervor through a smoke-le

    August 22, 2014

  • WOLFSIE: A matter of bad habits Mary Ellen and I have been happy together for so long that we sometimes forget how much we annoy each other, so on the trip back home from our recent vacation, it was time catch up on our bad habits.For example, I told Mary Ellen that she is a relent

    August 22, 2014

  • WILLIAMS: Life is not all choices There is a post on Facebook that says, “Everything you do is based on the choices you make. It’s not your parents, your past relationships, your job, the economy, the weather, an argument or your age that is to blame. You and only you are responsible

    August 21, 2014

  • PUBLIC FORUM: Reining in unlimited farm subsidies Reining in unlimitedfarm subsidiesIn January, President Obama declared that despite Congressional logjams, “America does not stand still — and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for Ame

    August 21, 2014

  • HAMILTON: Why government openness matters One of the fundamental lessons of the 9/11 tragedy was that our government carried a share of blame for the failure to stop the attacks. Not because it was asleep at the switch or ignorant of the dangers that Al Qaeda posed, but because the agencies

    August 21, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Continue work of modernizing courts Indiana’s new chief justice, Loretta Rush, has a lot on her plate. She not only has to preside over the Indiana Supreme Court, but also to modernize the state’s other courts as well.Indiana is well on its way toward bringing courts into the 21st cent

    August 21, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Mo-ped law long overdue We’ve all seen them on the streets, and their popularity is only growing. Mo-peds have coasted in a legal grey area for years in Indiana.A lack of registration, testing and licensure allowed those without other means of transport to join other vehicl

    August 20, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Quality of life and leaders both matter It was with some astonishment and much disappointment I read in the Aug. 5 edition of the Pharos-Tribune that one of our local city councilmen was quoted as saying that previous efforts in Logansport to use Tax Increment Financing money for quality o

    August 20, 2014

  • RAMPELL: Here comes Entrepreneur Barbie WASHINGTON — Lego’s groundbreaking female-scientists set sold out almost immediately after it was released this month. But never fear, fans of feminist toys: A new Barbie doll, now in stock, is also shattering the plastic ceiling.Yes, that swan-necke

    August 20, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Does Indiana need a statewide water management plan and an administrator to implement it?

Yes
No
Unsure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Chase Rice Defends Bro-Country 'Jersey Shore Massacre' Pokes Fun at MTV Series Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.