Monday, July 28, 2008

Grim News: Americans Driving Fewer Miles Means Less Taxes for Highway Projects

I was waiting for some media dipshits to come in with this angle and it didn't take long. I heard this reported in an ominous tone during an ABC News radio spot but found an item here lamenting how road projects could possibly suffer since people are now driving less.
An unprecedented cutback in driving is slashing the funds available to rebuild the nation's aging highway system and expand mass-transit options, underscoring the economic impact of high gasoline prices. The resulting financial strain is touching off a political battle over government priorities in a new era of expensive oil.

A report to be released Monday by the Transportation Department shows that over the past seven months, Americans have reduced their driving by more than 40 billion miles. Because of high gasoline prices, they drove 3.7% fewer miles in May than they did a year earlier, the report says, more than double the 1.8% drop-off seen in April.
So for months we've had nonstop, 24/7 coverage over the price of gas, so when people make the decision to cut back on unnecessary driving in order to save money, it's now being portrayed as a bad thing.

You. Just. Can't. Win.

Of course, to media types, less driving means less gas sold means less taxes, and since the media is 99% liberal, taxes are their mother's milk. Anything that reduces the tax flow to the government is thereby inherently bad.

Though they of course will never realize that cheaper gas will mean more gas sold resulting in more tax revenue.
The cutback furthers many U.S. policy goals, such as reducing oil consumption and curbing emissions. But, coupled with a rapid shift away from gas-guzzling vehicles, it also means consumers are paying less in federal fuel taxes, which go largely to help finance highway and mass-transit systems. As a result, many such projects may have to be pared down or eliminated.
So we've had it pounded over our heads that we need to move away from the evil gas-guzzlers and reduce oil consumption and then when we do, it's portrayed in a less than positive light.

If there's any shortage in tax revenue that goes to highway projects, you can be sure that tax will be added elsewhere.

But here's a novel concept: How about cutting funding from any of a thousand other bloated federal projects and diverting the money there?