Friday, April 07, 2006

Rethinking......

As I took the two hour trip to New Hampshire for the company retreat, I couldn't help but think that my poor car was going to destruct from all of the potholes I was hitting. There are holes the size of Volvos on Route Two, and it told me just how horrible our roads are and what needs to be done to fix them.

As I previously stated, I was opposed to a gas tax to repair the roads, but now I am starting to think it is the only thing we can do. Yes, gas prices have gone back to the point of being ridiculously high, but I think things need to be put into perspective. I have a 12 gallon tank, a four cent per gallon gas tax will only add 50 cents a tank to my tab. Usually I fill my tank about six times a month, so it ends up to be an additional three bucks; over the course of a year that is $36.00 or so. Now working in radio, I don't get paid much, but if this is what it takes to get the roads fixed, I am willing to do it.

For those who have travelled down in Chelsea and Randolph, you may know what it is like to drive on the East Randolph Road. Man alive, that thing looks like it hasn't had a construction crew on the thing since the Pony Express came through. There are MASSIVE frost heaves, and there are holes in the road that take up an entire lane. The entire road from Chelsea into Randolph is like dodging mines in a minefield.....If you hit a big one, your car will go boom.

I know we all pay a fortune at the pump, but something has to be done. I will kick out my extra three bucks a month, and have the hope that I will actually be able to drive a Vermont road without fearing my car will become a bucket of bolts the next time I hit one of those Volvo sized potholes.

10 comments:

charity said...

Did you read this letter in the Free Press today by Jeff Pascoe?

I had Jeff come and speak at a Burlington GOP meeting back when I was the chair because he really knows the ins and outs of the education financing system in VT.

Anyway, here is another perspective on the whole thing.
-------

Anyone who knows Vermont politics knows Gov. Jim Douglas never proposed to "raid the education fund," as some partisans allege.

Nine years ago as part of Act 60, the Legislature added 4 cents to the gas tax for education. This year Douglas proposed using those revenues for transportation instead; i.e., as a down payment to secure generous federal transportation grants. He also proposed making up for the loss to the education fund by tabling plans to expand the property tax rebate formula as it applies to higher income Vermonters.

The governor's proposal would not have raised taxes. In fact, the education fund is so flush with cash that Act 68, signed by Douglas, mandates a large decrease in property tax rates.

Meanwhile, it's the Legislature that's "raiding the education fund." Among their schemes are plans to pay for universal preschool from the fund, and to redistribute our earnings to a greater extent by increasing prebates paid from the fund rather than lowering property tax rates to the extent that Act 68 requires.

And on top of that, our Legislature wants to add 4 cents to the gas tax -- again.
JEFFREY PASCOE
South Burlington

Anonymous said...

There was a really good letter to the editor in the BFP from a traffic engineer when this was coming to a head. He pointed out two things that really put it in perspective:

- Four cents is a drop in the bucket compared to the increases imposed by big oil.

- Vermont receives more money for roads from the feds than we send in taxes for that purpose, i.e. our roads are already subsidized by taxpayers in other states.

It could be a LOT worse. Do you know how much gas tax you pay in MA to fund the Big Dig?

charity said...

"Four cents is a drop in the bucket compared to the increases imposed by big oil."

In what way does this justify the tax? Well, the oil companies are already sticking it to you , so we wanted to get in on that action, too.

"It could be a LOT worse. Do you know how much gas tax you pay in MA to fund the Big Dig?"

Didn't your mother ever teach you that two wrongs don't make a right?

Anonymous said...

"He also proposed making up for the loss to the education fund by tabling plans to expand the property tax rebate formula as it applies to higher income Vermonters."

In other words, he would use education money to pay for roads, then replenish the education fund by collecting more taxes.

The four cents goes to pay for something that, in most cases, the payer will receive a benefit for. There is nothing wrong with that.

charity said...

"In other words, he would use education money to pay for roads, then replenish the education fund by collecting more taxes."

Not exactly. It says he proposed tabling a plan to expand the rebate. In other words, the rebate was to be expanded, but he proposed not doing that. It is not collecting more taxes. It's like saying, "we can't afford a tax cut because we need to fix the roads and I don't want to have to raise the gas tax."

Why are we using a gas tax to pay for education anyway?

Anonymous said...

"It is not collecting more taxes."

It's collecting more taxes than they otherwise would have.

"Why are we using a gas tax to pay for education anyway?"

What are you talking about?

charity said...

What am I talking about?

Sorry, I assumed that you read my original comment. The letter I posted says:

"Nine years ago as part of Act 60, the Legislature added 4 cents to the gas tax for education."

The governor was proposing to use those funds generated by the gas tax to pay for roads instead of education.

Anonymous said...

You're right, I did miss that, that's crazy. Given the state of the roads, though, I wish he'd used that 4 cents AND added the new 4 cents. My poor car...

Haik Bedrosian said...

The roads wouldn't be so bad if we had a decent rail system to take some of the pressure off.

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