This morning I had the pleasure to sit down and have a cup of coffee with a staff member from Congresswoman Kristi Noem office, and a few other folks. Various issues were discussed, including education, the budget, etc.
Eventually the discussion came around to Congresswoman Noem inviting Congressman John L. Mica (R-FL), Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, to Pierre on August 19. See the press release here. As it turns out the gentleman from Florida will or has introduced a bill that states that we will only spend was is taken in through fuel taxes and other use fees to maintain roads and bridges.
That sounds pretty good doesn’t it, or does it?
State Senator Mike Vehle (Mitchell ? R) who also had some coffee, mentioned that the current federal gas tax rate was at 18.4 cents per gallon and hasn’t changed since 1993. South Dakota has 22 cents per gallon. Sen. Vehle also mentioned that as a road deteriorates, the cost per lane mile to maintain that highway increases. Of course, those costs goes up yearly. Let’s add in to the mix as gas prices go up, people drive less, and buy more fuel efficient cars, and less gas purchased, leads to less tax revenue.
If the Federal government will hand out what it takes in, then the states are responsible for picking up the rest. Maintaining highways in Arizona is a lot different than in the Dakotas, and the cost is going be much different as well tax base.
How do we fund the highways?