Thursday, May 8, 2008

Was the gas tax a good issue in Indiana?

A lot has been written about the proposed "gas tax holiday" from two leading presidential candidates. Many people claim that while bad policy, the issue is good politically. I see it differently. I wonder if the folks of Indiana were less likely to support suspending the gas tax than elsewhere because the state recently leased a major freeway to a private consortium. I think that the toll road issue probably raised the overall level of interest and awareness of transportation finance. I doubt there is a strong connection here, but perhaps some.

I also wonder how the gas tax issue is viewed in Minnesota, where the 35W bridge collapse last summer highlighted our weak infrastructure investment and the need for whatever gas tax revenue is available. I bet more people than are generally given credit are aware of these connections between tax revenues, investment and privatization.

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