Corker Shows Vision On Gas Tax - And Response (3)

Friday, June 20, 2014

As a young police officer in 1988, I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for Paul Huff Parkway/Exit 27 off I-75 in Cleveland.

At the time the road opened, I remember loud and vocal opposition from people about how wasteful it was for our city, state and federal officials to use tax dollars to put a road out in the middle of nowhere. Some years later,  I happened to be serving on the City Council when we also had to overcome strong opposition to rezone a portion of the same road to allow for commercial development. 

Well, have you seen Paul Huff Parkway lately?  Business after business, job after job, opportunity after opportunity, from one end of the Parkway to the other.   

It stands as a perfect example of a government investment 26 years ago that combined with the private sector markets of today is paying untold dividends now and into the future. Not only did the road create many construction and paving jobs when it was built, it created opportunity for jobs and investment at all the businesses located along the way. Who says government doesn't create jobs? 

The project was paid for using funds generated by the nation's gas tax.  I'm glad the leaders of the era were not afraid to spend money to promote the general welfare of our region. I'm glad they had the vision  to look beyond the horizon and see a a better future for us all.  

This is exactly what Senator Bob Corker is doing now with his proposal to increase the gas tax a little bit.  It takes vision and courage to look over the horizon to help create a better future for future generations, especially when opposition is present. His proposal will no doubt strengthen our nation, create jobs, create new markets and boost business and travel opportunity for years to come. Just like Paul Huff Parkway did and the recent I-75 Interchange that helped bring Volkswagen to our area did. 

By investing a little more today in the Highway Trust Fund, all of us who drive and use the roads play a small part in creating a better America.  

According to the Federal Highway Administration, the average motor vehicle in the United States, including cars, SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks, was driven 11,318 miles in 2011, the latest year for which data are available.

The national average fuel economy for cars and light trucks was 21.4 miles per gallon, which means the average vehicle used 530 gallons of motor fuel. 

At a tax rate of 18.4 cents per gallon, consumers paid an average of $97.52 in federal gasoline taxes for each vehicle they owned. 

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the average American household owns 1.75 vehicles, which means the average household pays $170.66 in federal motor fuel taxes in 2011, or about $3.28 per week. (Data source: Highway Statistics 2011, Table VM-1; Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transportation Statistics Annual Report, 2012) 

Not too bad of a cost for the benefit we get from these roads. We certainly get more than our individual money's worth out of the gas tax we pay.  

Just think of where this nation would be without the Interstate Highway System and the vision of Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950's.  It's good public policy to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent instead of delaying payment for needed repairs and new roads.  If roads, bridges, and interchanges are worth having and maintaining across our nation,  they are worth paying for as we build and maintain them.    

Bob Corker is right and showing great leadership and vision by leading the way on this issue.  

Tim Gobble

* * *

The Bob Corker proposed 12-cent per gallon gas tax increase would bring in $18 billion which our wonderful leaders of our country claim is needed to fix and keep up with the infrastructure of our roadways and bridges. Now I am no brain surgeon but if I was I would certainly offer my assistance to the Senate and Congress with their brain loss and head trauma. I think that maybe at this point though... a proctologist would be much more appropriate for the situation at hand or head whichever you prefer. Either way I think good old Bob and his associates need to have start thinking about the people of this country.

Mr. Gobble said in support of Mr. Corker, “According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the average American household owns 1.75 vehicles, which means the average household pays $170.66 in federal motor fuel taxes in 2011, or about $3.28 per week. (Data source: Highway Statistics 2011, Table VM-1; Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transportation Statistics Annual Report, 2012).”

Now Bob and Tim to you and all your misguided buddies on the hill in Washington why don't you look elsewhere for that extra money? Where you say? Well let me see now.... how about all the money we are giving to countries that don't like us and for the most part are our enemies? Foreign aid to:

Afghanistan $3 billion
Iraq $783 million
Egypt $102 million
Pakistan $1.1 Billion
Russia $440 million
Somalia $274 million
Yemen $237 million

And that is just scratching the surface, folks.

The ball park figure of money we are throwing away to our enemies is around $7 billion a year. Now what about the cost of illegal immigrants (oops can't say that ) undocumented people. According to some of the latest studies the cost annually to the taxpayers is........$54.5 billion a year. Yep that's billion folks not millions… billions.

Now I am not a mathematician, however, even I can figure out that we don’t need to raise the gas tax. We just need to secure our boarders and stop giving money to people that hate us. Heck, if we did just those two things we could cut taxes since there would be a $43 billion surplus.

Bob, how about for starters? Why don’t you guys in Washington try balancing a budget for once and actually be responsible for how you spend our tax dollars before you ask us to pay even one dime more of our hard-earned money.

I am all for building new roads, keeping the ones we have in good shape and making advancements but not while our leaders are misusing the tax dollars we are already paying.

Oh but what the heck do I know? Well, I do know that I am not going to vote for Bob Corker or anyone who supports a tax increase. I can tell you that.

Mike Cox 

* * * 

Mike Cox, 

Mark West of the Chattanooga Tea Party recently pointed out that after mandatory entitlements like social security and medicare plus the interest on the national debt then we are about break-even with current tax income. This is before we spend a dime on defense or anything else. While I am loathe to agree with Mark, his statistics are accurate. 

Personally, I have no problem with stopping most foreign aid. Israel receives massive subsidies and they are one of the wealthiest countries in the world. That doesn't mean we will have that money to use on roads. It is offensive to conservatives to leave the cost of our roads on the backs of our heirs. The gas tax should be revised and tied to an inflation rate to make sure it keeps up with the times. Consumption taxes are generally a good way of collection as even drug dealers and prostitutes can't escape paying. 

I see many who are just obsessed with illegal aliens. I agree that the borders need to be secured. I agree that immigration should be controlled. Of course, what I think would make a huge difference in this area is that rarely do you see prosecutions for business owners who actively recruit and hire illegal immigrants. If there were not jobs here then they probably wouldn't come. Of course, I do not know many Americans who line up to work in slaughterhouses or in hot fields picking produce. If a farmer had to pay minimum wages and legal benefits, your Big Mac would probably cost double. Produce and fruit would become a luxury item for most Americans or just totally outsourced to other countries. 

America has big problems and Bob Corker has many common-sense solutions. Just because the math doesn't work out the way you want it to doesn't make everyone else wrong.  

John Harris
Ooltewah 

* * * 

While I totally agree with Senator Corker's tax  proposal to raise the federal tax apportionment to fund the federal highway fund, I am astounded by the lack of clamor from Republicans and their spin doctors about this tax hike.  Had President Oboma or any Democrat made the identical  proposal,  Republicans and their editorial spin doctors would have shouted horror, misery on the masses and another example reckless tax and spending by the Democrats.   

Where is the outcry when a Republican makes a sound tax hike proposal?  Come on, you Republican spin doctors,  you're showing your hypocrisy by the lack of clamor .... or maybe hoping  that this topic fades into oblivion so that you don't have to address it .   Or maybe you're hoping that the private business sector will make the investment in our national transportation system because the federal government needs to continue slashing the budget? 

Bill DiPillo



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