Think that the current plans to raise revenue for roads and trains are unrealistic? Just wait a year or two. The Wall Street Journal writes today that cars and trucks are getting more fuel-efficient which is bad news for government agencies trying to extract cash from drivers via gas taxes.
"The Federal Highway Administration estimates that by 2009 the tax receipts that make up most of the federal highway trust fund will be $21 billion shy of what's needed just to maintain existing roads, much less build new roads or add capacity. Trying to compensate for highway-budget shortfalls, a handful of states are exploring other, potentially more lucrative ways to raise highway money."
U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters agrees:
"Peters says that the federal highway trust fund will lack sufficient funding from taxes beginning in 2009. She has been pressing states to look for alternatives to gasoline taxes...'the bottom line is that we are spending more than we take in, and we have nearly run through the balances that had built up in the fund,' Ms. Peters told Congress in February. 'The highway funding problem is not going to go away, nor can we put it off until the last minute.'"
Hey, I have an idea -- maybe we could scale back the grandiose road/train plans that take homes, increase noise, and pave over neighborhoods!