Senate Minority Leader Dick Day, R-Owatonna, proposed a fix for funding the Highway Trust Fund. His proposal involves increasing gas taxes for the first time since 1988 by 5 cents per gallon. Placing a tax on already high gas prices brings financial worries for some but will build safer and more-efficient roadways for the future.
The proposal also includes an additional surcharge for purchases of both new and used vehicles ($125 and $75, respectively). The plan would collect $160 million a year to go toward the Highway Trust Fund, which is only currently bringing in $32 million a year.
Many students and faculty members at the University choose not to drive to and around campus because of expensive parking, but for many others, driving is a necessary, yet costly, part of life.
Many who do drive feel the increase in the cost of driving a car will bring fewer people to gas stations to fill up. The gas prices are high enough already, and the long trips many people take to work or school every day will become too expensive for lower-income people.
The long-term benefits of better roads outweigh the short-term financial stressor of the additional charges. Bad roads induce so much stress on cars that many of the extra costs involved with owning one are caused solely by the roads. Well-constructed roads will also cause traffic to move faster toward destinations and will create safer road conditions. The proposal might even reduce the risk of getting in car accidents.
Also, it is important to consider the gas-tax increase would be a minor fee to use the roads. Those who don’t drive, who don’t use roads every day and add to the wear and tear, won’t have to pay to fix them.
People will continue to buy gas at gas stations. And sure, there might be an increase in complaints as people drive up and see the already high gas prices increase, but for users of the roads, the 5 cent increase is a sure deal to help maintain and create safe journeys for all.