Raise Federal Gas Tax?? A Dem Pushes This Increase.

By … Chuck Pithy

In another assault on our wallets, a Democratic Congressman, Earl Blumenauer, is proposing that we almost double the Federal Gas and Diesel Fuel Tax.  Mr. Blumenauer states many reasons why he feels it needs to be done and you can read about them if you follow this link (http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/eric-scheiner/democrat-raise-gas-tax-make-lost-revenue-fuel-efficient-vehicles).

The American public might be ok with an increase if it were actually used for roads and bridges,  but unfortunately, they have siphoned off so much of this fund to other uses that Americans will not support it.

In our community, a group received a 25 million dollar grant to promote non motorized transportation.  This money came from the Transportation Department budget which is funded in part by the Federal fuel tax.  We now have buses with specialized bike carriers mounted to the front of them. It is rare to see a bike in the carrier.  There are numerous areas where bike racks were installed so bikes could be secured. The price of these racks were roughly 4 times the cost of what our schools paid for bike racks.  The main reason for the price difference is these racks are custom, but the school system purchased them as a stock item from a company. But when it is Federal dollars, well who cares?  Next they sought the rights to abandoned rail lines to make a non motorized path (you can walk or bike).  At each and every street crossing they had to take out and replace curb sections so the bikes would not have a bump.  Interestingly enough there is no stop sign at these crossings for the bikes, which is a huge potential for accidents.  But wait it gets even better, at several major intersections the traffic lights had to be replaced in order to give bicycles the right of way.  And last but not least, bike lanes were painted on the roadways, and in several areas, there are signs letting motorists know that bikes have the right to the entire lane.  I have nothing against bikes, I ride one myself, but bikes contributed nothing to this project and took money that should have been used for roads.

Another wasteful road project that happened in our county was the installation of rotary intersections, not just one, but five in a 3 mile stretch of road.  Now these rotary intersections were 95% Fed funded so the county could not wait to get all that money and let the circles begin.  What was so frustrating and so wrong was that two of the rotary intersections were part of an on/off ramps for an interstate highway.  The year before these very same ramps were redone because they did not meet Fed standards at a price tag of several million Fed dollars.  If the Federal Government was concerned about getting the most use out of those dollars they certainly would not have redone ramps that were reconstructed less than 12 months before. 

While on vacation a few years ago we were in Colorado and while heading from Wyoming to Fort Collins we noticed many exits had construction projects going on.  Once again it was the installation of rotary intersection.  There were at least 5 of these exits where nothing other than a farm that could be seen when looking either direction, which made me wonder what they could have been planning for. We got off at an exit to purchase gas and I started into a conversation with a local resident.  I asked him if there were some big changes being planned.  I told him I was asking this because of all the changes to the off ramps that I had noticed.  The local rolled his eyes and then responded, “It’s the Feds, they came in and said all of this had to be changed.  We were never asked, nor given an opportunity to comment on it, just told it was to be done.”  I asked if the ramps were in poor repair and he said they were just fine.  I did find out later that this was part of the shovel ready jobs paid for by the stimulus.  To me, shovel ready was suppose to be projects that needed to be done but were not funded yet, such as additional lanes or repaving existing lanes.  This was a glaring waste of Fed dollars, which we can’t afford and we don’t deserve. 

So Mr. Blumenauer, before you propose increasing the Fed fuel tax, how about showing us those dollars are being used wisely.  With the crumbling roads and bridges why are we creating rotary intersections where none are needed.  In fact why are rotary intersections needed at all? Why are we funding non motorized transportation alternatives using Fed fuel tax dollars? This is just the wasteful spending I saw, imagine how much more of it is going on.

I am Chuck Pithy and I tell it like it is!

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