By Pat Stacey
I recently read an op-ed piece by Georgia Congressman Tom Graves on the federal gas tax. This topic has huge impact in Texas because of the number of roads, both federal and state-maintained that are funded by the gasoline tax.
Back in 1956, the federal government created the federal highway project funding construction of the interstate highway system with 3 cent per gallon tax on consumer gas purchases.
The funding was to stay flat for 16 years when the project would be completed and then a maintenance tax of one and a half cents per gallon would go into effect. Everything worked great until that point in 1972, when, instead of cutting the tax from 3 cents to a penny and half, the government raised the tax to 18 cents per gallon – that's right 18 cents – which is where the tax sits currently.
The State of Texas tacks another 20 cents per gallon as well, all to fund road construction and maintenance. So with gas prices nearing record highs, it is a sharp reminder that the federal and state governments are pulling in billions to fund bureaucracies more than roads.
Now, I am not suggesting that we go back to the original 1 and a half cents per gallon but certainly, we should be able to reduce this tax. It is a consumption tax but if gas prices continue to rise, consumption will drop and that ultimately weakens the economy.
We need a break from this tax and the big government that comes with it. That cut would make for a Better East Texas.