Please see below for Bill Wright's letter: Commentary on Funding Local Roads and Bridges
I read with interest the commentary by Lucius Riccio and Dan Feldman (Done Right, Gas Tax Hike Means Jobs) describing a public inclined to support tax increases to pay for vital state services.
Messrs. Riccio and Feldman rightfully point out that the key to this public support, particularly as it relates to a tax increases at the pump, is for state officials to “link the tax increase to a specific service the public wants and needs.”
County highway officials agree and advocate strongly for additional state resources to get the job done on our local roads, bridges and culverts so as to maintain the system in a state of good repair. And gasoline taxes need to be primarily, if not exclusively, dedicated for transportation and largely spent on our local system. Forty-eight percent of vehicle miles traveled in New York are on local roads, yet less than 12 percent of the fees and taxes paid by these drivers goes to maintaining these local systems. Because gas taxes are paid by motorists, motorists should be the main beneficiaries of these levies.
As Riccio and Feldman point out, in order to be popularly supported, a gas tax hike would need to be linked directly to a specific purpose. There is currently a state sales tax on motor fuel that generates about $950 million per year for the state, none of which is dedicated to transportation. This must change in order for local highway departments to keep up with ever rising costs of maintenance, repair, rehabilitation and reconstruction of our roads, bridges and culverts for a safe, economic and convenient integrated transportation system for the benefits of the driving public.
Gas taxes for roads and bridges. Not many of us drivers would disagree with that.