The Bike League writes today to help us understand why the gasoline tax should be raised. The last time that happened was in 1993.
Check out the article here.
I sent an email some time ago asking State Senator Felag from Tiverton area to explain his position on the state gas tax (which is separate from the above stats on the federal gas tax). I haven't heard back, and I think today I'll have to take this article as a reminder to follow up.
Sen. Felag led the fight to lower the Rhode Island gasoline tax earlier in the year. He argued that gas stations along the Massachusetts border would be unable to compete with that state's lower gasoline tax. You can't squeeze blood from a stone, said Felag, and it would make more sense to lower the tax and get some revenue than to keep it high and have the borderland gas stations go out of business. Fair enough. But I sent a series of questions to Felag asking whether his position was open to change should there ever come a time that Massachusetts talked about raising their gas tax--after all, if the reason that the good senator called for the tax to be lowered was that we needed to be competitive with other states, that should affect his answer. No reply so far.
Massachusetts has struggled with its transportation policy just as Rhode Island has. At the time of Felag's proposal to lower the gas tax, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation was considering a proposal to tax parking lots to support transit. That plan never went through, but it would be interesting to know what our leaders think of such a plan.
Perhaps we'll soon hear back!