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Letter: Use gasoline taxes to fix roads, bridges

Use gasoline taxes to fix roads, bridges

I spend money regularly on tires, alignments, steering, suspension and mufflers on my car due to rough roads and bumpy bridges, and I’m sick of it.

The media and political candidates like to talk about more funding for roads, bridges, transit, water, sewerage etc. The Road Information Program has provided wonderful statistics on poor road and bridge conditions in New York State and the Fair Apportionment for Infrastructure Repair Committee says Western New York does not get treated the same as downstate on transportation funding. I agree with all of this.

Washington has finally responded with FAST (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation) with some $16.5 billion over five years and $216 million in unspent old funds all for New York State. This is money for so-called federal aid highways, bridges and transit.

I don’t like the term “aid” for transportation money coming from Washington. It is not help or a gift but is the return of gasoline taxes we prepay every time we fill up. In New York State, highway users pay about 70 cents per gallon combined federal and state gasoline taxes. That’s a 55 percent tax rate and far too much, given our poor road and bridge conditions.

Low fuel prices and fuel-derived products like asphalt (blacktop) and pipe are selling for record low prices, so the time is right to fix all the roads and bridges, urban, suburban and rural.

I’m calling the governor and my legislators today and asking them to dedicate all my 70 cents per gallon tax to fixing crumbling roads and bridges and improving safety and access. Hope you consider doing the same.

Dan Rider