The U.S. Chamber of Commerce made headlines recently for recommending a 25 cent increase in the federal gas tax. Not only is that a bad idea for American consumers and businesses, but it’s a hopelessly outdated idea that doesn’t address the day in which we live. In this era of Uber and Lyft, electric and hybrid cars, plus humongous tandem tractor trailers, the gasoline tax is no longer a fair way to pay for our highways. Roads should be funded by those who use them, with variable fees that depend on cost and time of day.
The Dulles Greenway in Virginia is an example of a successful private highway which connects Washington Dulles Airport to Leesburg, Virginia. It has an electronic system for collecting tolls from riders. By all measurable standards, it has a much more convenient and efficient access than government-owned highways.
In this 21st century, drivers can pay electronically with their smartphones based on their GPS-tracked travel. That efficiency would help deter the massive commuter traffic jams that currently plague our public highways.
In case you think the Left’s idea of a national carbon tax is a viable alternative, think again. A carbon tax is imposed on the amount of carbon in energy sources, primarily fossil fuels.
Thus, a carbon tax would be imposed on the suppliers of the energy, particularly oil, coal, and natural gas. But this tax would then be passed on to consumers in the form of higher heating and air-conditioning costs, and higher gas prices at the pump. That’s the kind of thing Hillary Clinton was talking about when she promised to put lots of coal miners out of business. She wanted to hit them with carbon taxes until their industry crumbled.
Even today it doesn’t work. Anti-Trump Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida was defeated for reelection recently after he endorsed the bad idea of a carbon tax.
President Trump should learn from these political lessons and stay away from taxes on important resources like gas and coal. Shenanigans like gas taxes and carbon taxes don’t play well with middle class Americans who just want the government to let them live in freedom, and it’s those people who will reelect Trump in 2020.