In reference to a story in Wednesday’s Empire titled “Congressional delegation rips Parnell’s gas tax suspension,” concerning the gas tax proposal:
Most states motor fuel tax (gas tax) is applied to the States Transportation Budget. This tax typically runs $0.20 to $0.30 per gallon. For years the state of Alaska Legislature and governor have underfunded the roads, bridges and highways within the state relying instead on the federal government to meet more than its share when compared to most other states. In fact, most states contribute directly to “state funded” projects separate from the Federal Highway Program. The state of Alaska does not make funds available for state projects. Instead of cutting the motor fuel tax, the fuel tax should be raised by and additional $0.18 per gallon bringing it to $0.24 a gallon raising an additional $120 million. These funds should be directly appropriated to the state of Alaska Department of Transportation for funding of much needed road projects throughout the state in accordance with the State Highway Plan. This sends a clear message to the federal government that Alaska is more than willing to fund its fair share. It also meets and important government responsibility, providing safe and efficient transportation. It also directly charges the users and those who benefit from the roads they use. This includes significantly higher costs of fuel for tourists visiting our state as well as commercial trucks making deliveries. … Those who use the system and burn fuel pay to do so contributing to the upkeep of our roads. This would also act as a financial incentive to conserve fuel and encourage downsizing of vehicles. Safe and efficient roads are a very good thing!
Duane P. Gates
Lt. Cmdr. (Retired) U.S. Coast Guard