The gas tax is actually super low, thanks to inflation
Eric Cantor thinks that bike sharing is siphoning off way too much of the country's gas tax revenue. And for a Republican like him, raising the tax is out of the question, never mind that, as Greater Greater Washington's Matt Johnson points out, in inflation-adjusted dollars, the gas tax has gone down by 34 percent since 1994, the last time it was raised. And, again in inflation-adjusted dollars, the gas tax was actually highest in 1960. Johnson:
In fact, at present we're on the cusp of dropping below the value of the gas tax when it was implemented in 1932. That year it was just one penny per gallon, which translates to 16.7¢ in today's dollars. That's not much less than the 18.4¢ we pay now … In Cantor's home state, Virginia, the trend is even more stark. The gas tax is bringing in less money than at any time since the Commonwealth instituted the tax in 1923.
Johnson also points out that if Congress lets the current extension of the transportation bill expire, there will be no federal gas tax at all. Giant potholes will consume highways. Traffic everywhere will snarl to a halt. Bikes, on the plus side, might start to look a little bit better? But with gas 18.4 cents cheaper, motorists might feel they can afford to idle on the gridlocked roads for a little bit.
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