Missouri funds it's roads with tax on fuel and vehicle sales. Revenues are down.
What do you think the best solution is?
I have yet to develope an opinion. I do know something tells me that when folks cut back on spending due to leaner times, resulting in lower tax collections, the standard answer is for government to take more of their money via a tax hike. Then they have less to spend.
When we are talking about the funding for feel good causes and things government never should have been involved in from the beginning, well that's one thing but the upkeep of roads might be something that needs funding.
The cost of some of these projects are phenomenal. The new I-70 bridge in downtown St. Louis is under construction. It is estimated to cost $667 MILLION to complete. When you think of a 2800 foot span bridge across the Mississippi that sounds like a tremendous amount of money for concrete, steel and labor. I'm sure the bridge will look pretty at night, and I'm also sure there is a much more reasonable solution to this problem.
I also remember that when they were blasting rocks out of the low-water Mississippi this past year they had DNR there to make sure that the fish were warned so none would die. Absurd. They use low-blast charges yet the government is there to make sure a few fish don't die.
I just think that some of these projects are outrageous and overdone. We could use some new roads but they take in a tremendous amount of money.
but the upkeep of roads might be something that needs funding.
-- Posted by Old John on Sat, Feb 2, 2013, at 1:33 AM
As it should but upkeep only gives money to people who work. The leeches want their equal share too.
Regret, I have no idea of what would be the true fair way to go about funding roads. I do think the money wasted on the hair brained schemes of green energy, [Solendra] comes to mind as others] would go along way toward the cause. The great bailout of the auto industry [even Ford still owes 200 million on the 5.9 billion low interest loans] and the money spent subidizing a technology to turn our food into fuel has cost a lot of money that could have been used for roads.
The great industrial revolution of farm machinery freed up a lot of acres that went to feed horses and mules to make food cheap and bolster exports. It's kind of ironic that now we are going back to using those acres to make fuel for the machinery.
Despite the better fuel economy that results in less revenue, if government would get out of the way and allow confidence of the private market to move ahead, the revenue thing would take care of itself. IMO
The fairest method for funding our roads would be to install a GPS in every vehicle and monitor exactly how far each one travels and road they utilize. Then assess based on that data multiplied by the vehicle weight. Huge invasion of everyone privacy makes it a nonstarter, but absolutely the fairest way to ensure that those who use and cause wear on a particular bridge or highway get billed for their fair share for it.
The next fairest methods without invading drivers privacy would be to tax their tires. We'd have to mandate that tire manufacturers use neon orange wear stripes to bust those that would otherwise run their tires so long as to become safety hazards for others, and we'd have to crack down on the serious possibility of black market tires as it would take a steep $200-$300 in taxes for each regular passenger tire to come close to equaling our current gasoline tax revenue (flat or broken tires could be subject to a partial rebate of tax based on remaining treadlife).
Regardless of alternative fuel trends or economic booms or busts every road user still has to use tires and the type of tire they use and the wear on that tire is generally reflective of their use of those roadways.
"Missouri funds it's roads with tax on fuel and vehicle sales. Revenues are down."
Bravo. Folks are reacting to higher gas prices by reducing their usage. Logic suggest, less usage would result in less funds needed for road repairs.
In addition, extra tax dollars were dumped into transportation funds during the stimulus programs, which were used for bridge and repairs.
Reality check. Why are conservatives seeking to spend more tax dollars, while complaining about the deficit?
Toll Roads will insure those using the roads pay for them.
You ride the bus... you buy a ticket.
"Probably need to privatize the roads."
Yes. They would be better maintained and with a lot less wasted money. Equals a profit for the owner and cheaper overall cost to the consumer.
"The fairest method for funding our roads ..." - -- Posted by Nil on Sun, Feb 3, 2013, at 2:51 AM
Suggest the methods proposed would be fair, but IMO FWIW, not currently practical.
Saddling all vehicles with the cost of a GPS system would have bias to those vehicles not driven a great deal. Using the odometer may be a quicker-n-easier solution, provided the vehicle's computer is checked to ensure the hard fault flag hasn't been thrown for a disconnected speedometer.
Alternative methods may be more fair, but at what cost to implement?
Missouri currently issues truck tags based on weight - the BL6, BL12, etc designations, and IIRC, passenger vehicle license fees are, or at least used to be, assessed based on horsepower. Not familiar with the pricing structure as it relates to potential road wear and damages. Perhaps an opportunity to review and adjust...
Taxing tires could be problematic - unless the structure takes into account the sport tires that are designed to last only 20-30,000 miles, versus the utility tires promising 100,000 miles or more. Since this revenue issue seems to be raised by MoDOT and is somewhat localized to Missouri - how to 'catch' those who cross state lines to purchase tires? What about those tires needing to be replaced due to age rather than wear - a dilemma currently being approached on a personal level.
Suggest that weather is a relative constant in affecting the roads, so that fewer miles travelled should increase the cost per mile travelled in order to maintain this portion of road repairs.
From http://www.modot.org/about/funding/fundi... - appears that the last fuel tax increase was in 1996, although additional funding has come in since then via other sources. With the tax being a fixed amount per gallon, increased revenues don't naturally come about from inflation - unlike regular sales taxes or property taxes charged on a percentage basis of the product.
Consider that the fuel tax approach isn't perfect, but IMO it's about the best thing currently going as it correlates to road use and wear. The bigger or heavier the vehicle, typically the more fuel per mile it will consume. There is an opportunity for differentiating between diesel tax and gasoline tax, as the feds do, due to the greater usable energy per gallon offered with diesel as a result of the higher BTU per gallon content, as well as the heightened thermal efficiencies offered by the oil-burners.
Missouri's current fuel tax is in the lowest 10% on a ranking of the states. As with any tax, suggest it is important to first verify the true need for additional revenues, followed by just how much of a need. Suggest a statement from one representative of the state transportation authority doesn't quite gitter dun. On the other hand, if the voters felt that a water park and golf course improvements needed their own special tax, then the bar for tax increases has been set pretty low... :-)~
Do we really need more revenue to maintain and build roads? I still don't agree with spending the amount of money we do to make airfare to St Louis cheap. Any fuel or road tax makes it even more unfair for a private company like BART to compete. We've already just about put private taxi service out of business in SEMO with federal and state money supporting the big vans that rarely have more than two passengers per trip.
The more money available the more to be wasted. I can't remember seeing two dump trucks, a bucket truck and a twelve man crew errecting a stop sign in Bollinger County.
BC, You need a water park, you just don't know it yet.
You need weekly trash service, it ain't right to throw tater peelings out behind the barn.
You need cable TV, you can't keep up with society throug reality show education without it. You wanna be a dummy?
I bet you don't even have a bike trail connecting your place to the modern world.
Are you some kinda nut? ;)
The cost of building and maintaining roads in the State is extremely high brought on by the high cost of material, fuel, labor in reality it has exceeded the State fuel tax allowed. The public roads contractors have to comply with the prevailing wage and a number of other regulations and at the end you add up all of this cost the contractor has to bid the job higher compared to what he would bid the same job ten years ago and there is just not enough in the fuel tax these days to pay for all of this increased cost.
"The fairest method for funding our roads would be to install a GPS in every vehicle and monitor exactly how far each one travels and road they utilize."
And who, in their right mind, would want the government tracking the movements of every single citizen, knowing where they go every moment of every day? This is not the first time this has been proposed, and it won't be the last. I think it is indicative of how far we, as a nation, have slid away from an understanding of the concept of freedom.
"A nation that takes control of the economy for the good of the people will end up taking control of the people for the good of the economy." - Bob Dole -
Shapley: bottom line is we just don't have enough revenue coming in to off set the tremendous cost increases that have occurred in the past 12 years. We have a much larger population today then what we had 12 years ago also, more vehicles on the road today were still trying to operate like we did back in the 20th century were in debt up to our eye balls we have more going out then what we have coming in and we have to borrow the difference every year just to stay afloat this has been going on for some time now but the public is demanding more and more the congress authorizes spending bills heck the senate has not passed a budget in nearly four years. We have had disaster after disaster, wars after wars, economy melt down of 2008 and no telling what else that has took a toll on us as well but we are still trying to do what we did back in the day and I'm afraid it will not work we are at a breaking point in this economy. We take in 2.3 trillion annually and over 3.7 trillion is going out the door annually and this is increasing each year. We also have 122 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilties that we haven't even paid any attention too.
Shapley here is another problem forth coming we now are going to face the immigration reform which will be additional population added to the head count the current population according to the U.S. Census Bureau is over 315 million working toward 316 million this is far from the 246 million we had in 1990. Something has to give here sooner or later in order to balance all of this out and oh yes the Affordable Health Care Act better known as Obamacare which we have no idea what that alone is going to cost us oh we will know soon on this one as we approach January 1 2014.
"We have a much larger population today then what we had 12 years ago also, more vehicles on the road today were still trying to operate like we did back in the 20th century"
More vehicles on the road means more tax revenue coming in from the gasoline purchased by those vehicles. If they would stop spending road and bridge money on other projects that would be less of an issue.
Gasoline taxes are the fairest method - those who purchase the most gasoline are reasonably assumed to be the ones doing the most damage. They also do not require tracking of every vehicle.
If the tracking programme were enacted, vast sums of the monies raised would be spent on the hardware and software to do the tracking, and in compliling the billing, as well as responding to the lawsuits that would result therefrom. Such novel methods are more about monitoring citizens than they are about raising revenues.
We could, perhaps, tax electric vehicles at a higher rate, since they do not pay their 'fair share', since they buy an insufficiently small amount of fuel to cover the damage they do to the roads. As vehicles become more fuel efficient, it is reasonable to expect that fuel taxes would need to be raised to keep the revenue-to-miles-driven ratio necessary to cover the costs of repair. However, the idea of monitoring and taxing every single vehicle based on their driving history is anti-freedom as well as being needlessly complex.
"Shapley here is another problem forth coming we now are going to face the immigration reform which will be additional population added to the head count the current population according to the U.S. Census Bureau is over 315 million working toward 316 million this is far from the 246 million we had in 1990. Something has to give here sooner or later in order to balance all of this out..."
Population size in and of itself has no impact on road maintenance costs. Roads are affected by the number and weight of the vehicles which drive upon them. Fuel consumption is also proportionate to the weight of the vehicles and the number of miles driven, thus fuel taxes are the most logical method of raising road and bridge revenue.
Since those taxes are an excice tax, charged as a price per gallon rather than as a percentage of the cost of fuel, they do not automatically rise with inflation. Thus, they have to be periodically adjusted to compensate for rising costs. This is hardly rocket science.
Percentage-based taxes rise automatically with inflation. For instance, a 5% sales tax generates a nickel for every dollar spent. As prices rise, the revenue follows, that is if you spend twice as much for a product today compared to twenty years ago, the 5% sales tax generates twice as much revenue on the same product sales.
Not so with excise taxes. If the tax is five cents per gallon, it is still five cents per gallon whether the price of gasoline is $ 0.40 or $4.00. Nor does it rise if the cost of the things it is supposed to purchase also rises. It raises a nickel per gallon whether roads cost $100,000 per mile or $500,000 per mile to build. Thus, as I noted, they have to be revised periodically. But that does not mean they have to be replaced.
They also have to adjusted for fuel efficiency. If the average vehicle had a fuel efficiency of 10 miles per gallon twenty years ago, then the five-cents-per-gallon tax was garnering revenue at an average rate of 1/2 cent per mile driven. If the average fuel efficiency is now 20 miles per gallon, then that revenue has dropped to 1/4 cent per mile driven. Again, the revenue has to be adjusted accordingly, not replaced.
"...and oh yes the Affordable Health Care Act better known as Obamacare which we have no idea what that alone is going to cost us oh we will know soon on this one as we approach January 1 2014."
That has absolutely nothing to do with road-and-bridge money, except with regards to the cost of the labour to maintain them. Again, as long as taxe levels are maintained proportionate to the costs they are intended to fund, they will not need to be redesigned.
"population according to the U.S. Census Bureau is over 315 million working toward 316 million this is far from the 246 million we had in 1990."
Maybe our problem is that we have no more helping to pay the bill now than we did in 1990... maybe less!
We have less paying in to the system Wheels no doubt about that but are demanding more. Shapley what I meant was we have more cars and trucks on the road today then years past because the population has increased more people are using the roads and bridges. I agree with Wheels assessment we just have less people paying in to the system. Our whole system is overwhelmed because of this surge and our infrastucture is having a hard time handling all of it including our health care industry, judicial system etc etc. If we are going to be the nation to invite every one in the world to come in to with out proper inbound security we better make some adjustments pretty quick.
This is Real Time as we speak, not a pretty picture at all. More red ink then black ink and the red ink is ticking upward each day that goes by.
"Shapley what I meant was we have more cars and trucks on the road today then years past because the population has increased more people are using the roads and bridges."
As I noted, these costs are funded by transporation taxes, which are proportionate to the number of vehicles on the roads.
"Our whole system is overwhelmed because of this surge and our infrastucture is having a hard time handling all of it including our health care industry, judicial system etc etc."
Those are not funded with tranportation taxes, though transportation taxes have been diverted to non-tranportation or maginally-transportation-related items in the past.
"If we are going to be the nation to invite every one in the world to come in to with out proper inbound security we better make some adjustments pretty quick."
I thought we were talking about state funding of state-funded roads. That is an entirely different subject that federal immigration law and security-related spending.
The subject of this thread relates to Missouri's need for increased transportation funding. The other issues are funded through other revenue streams, and are a subject unto themselves. Unless, of course, you're trying to say that we need to use this vehicle-monitoring tax as a back-door means of tracking the movements of immigrants. If so, I still have to disagree with you on the freedom issue.
Securing the borders is one thing. Tracking the comings and goings of individual citizens within the United States because of concerns over immigrants, legal or illegal, is a totally different animal, and one I strongly oppose!
Technically, even those who pay not income taxes pay into the upkeep of the roads, through the purchase of licenses (assuming their vehicles are properly registered) and through the payment of fuel taxes when they purchase gasoline (assuming they are not using 'farm gas' or driving electric vehicles).
We have laws regulating the driving of unlicensed vehicles and using 'farm gas' on public roadways. Those laws are generally being enforced. There are generally too few electric vehicles on the road to be a factor. Thus, the question simply boils down to one of whether or not the excise tax on highway fuels has kept up with inflation and improved fuel efficiency. Apparently, it has not, and the taxes probably need to be raised.
It is a popular myth that conservatives oppose all tax increases. Conservatives generally support local and state-level taxation, particularly when those taxes are earmarked for use in non-entitlement and non-wasteful spending. Transporation taxes frequently find wide-spread conservative support, if there is a proven need. Conservation taxes, similarly, find conservative support when the purpose is seen as valid.
"The fought like crazy to get "Don't Tread On Me" Missouri Tea Party license plates in the legislature. The irony was lost on them apparently."
It's lost on me, too, apparently.
The irony was lost on them apparently. -- Posted by Spaniard on Mon, Feb 4, 2013, at 1:09 PM
What Irony? You act as if the Tea Party is some subversive revolutionary group. You need to quit smoking the HuffPost stuff so much.
An education. TEA party stands for "Taxed Enough Already". I think the irony may be lost on you. To get a license plate like that would be voluntary or a "choice". There are other "choices" for people than abortion. Although your president would like to limit us to just that one.
Fuel tax has progressed since
1924: 2 cent
1950: 2 ct
1952: 1 ct
1972: 2 ct
1982: 4 CT
1987: 4 CT
1992: 2 CT
1994: 2 ct
1996: 2 ct
2004: All revenues from vehicle to MoDot
2009: All revenues from vehicles sales tax to MoDot instead of some to general revenue.
Shapley's tweek and adjust idea is the most likely course to be taken; more revenue, not better spending. And don't forget the bond method of paying later.
This came from three government websites so I'm sure you can understand why the totals don't add up to 17 cents or the $00.176 reported on some state sites.
Missouri fuel tax history, from http://www.modot.org/about/general_info/...
Proposition 5 passes, creating the state's first fuel tax, 2-cents per gallon.
Fuel tax increases to 3 cents per gallon.
Fuel tax increases to 5 cents per gallon; County Aid Road Trust (CART) Fund created.
Fuel tax increases to 7 cents per gallon.
Proposition A passes and increases motor fuel tax by 4 cents per gallon. (Making for a total of $0.11 per gallon)
A 6-cent per gallon motor fuel tax is passed by the Legislature, to be phased in over a five-year period. ($0.02 in 1992, $0.02 in 1994, $0.02 in 1996, resulting in a fuel tax of $0.17 after 1996).
Legislation is passed extending the 6-cents-per-gallon motor-fuel tax, which was due to expire in 2008. Proposition B, an omnibus transportation bill that would have increased the motor-fuel tax by 4 cents per gallon and the general sales tax by 1/2 percent, is defeated by voters by a 3-to-1 margin.
In November, Missouri voters approved Constitutional Amendment 3, which requires all revenues collected from the sale of motor vehicles come to MoDOT.
Then there's the companion federal fuel tax - http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/incometaxa...
1 cent - June 1932 through May 1933
1.5 cents - June 1933 through December 1933
1 cent - January 1934 through June 1940
1.5 cents - July 1940 through October 1951
2 cents - November 1951 through June 1956
3 cents - July 1956 through September 1959
4 cents - October 1959 through March 1983
9 cents - April 1983 through December 1986
9.1 cents - January 1987 through August 1990
9 cents - September 1990 through November 1990
14.1 cents - December 1990 through September 1993
18.4 cents - October 1993 through December 1995
18.3 cents - January 1996 through September 1997
18.4 cents - October 1997 through today
Essentially, the fuel tax has not been increased since 1997. FWIW - the consumer price index ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/special.requests/cpi/cpiai.txt in Dec 1997 was 160.5, in Dec 2012, 229.6 - or a 43% increase in whatever basket of goods the index is based on. If $0.17 per gallon state fuel tax was gittin' it dun in 1997, suggests it would take about a $0.243 per gallon state fuel tax today, less the offset from the collection of sales taxes.
fxpwt, Thanks for researching that. I've never been good at looking up stuff when it comes to numbers.
Are you saying we are doing a lot more for less already? The numbers seem to indicate a raise in fuel tax is needed but my gut feeling is that we need better spending.
OJ - still mulling things over here. Data is one thing, useful information is another. Depending on what metric one compares against, suggest the fuel tax level could be argued at any level from nothing to infinity.
Would be interested in finding some comparison of miles of road maintained versus total fuel consumption and related revenues over the years in order to gauge road maintenance demands against revenues.
Going with the observation that paying more now is painful, but less so than paying a lot more later to catch up - kinda like the theme from the ol' Fram oil filter commercials. Then there's the consideration of just how many miles of roads do we really need to keep up with?
"...not doing any maint. at all."
Just because you don't see it, does not mean that maintenance is not being done. The majority of joint sealing, crack repair, small or partial slab replacement, etc. is done at night with lower traffic disruption. Furthermore, overlays have been done on asphalt portions of I-55 and St. Louis interstates in recent years.
Additional lanes are justified by higher traffic counts and contribute to less congestion, better gas milage and fewer accidents.
BTW, fxpwt, I see your post had already explained the fact that excise taxes do not automatically adjust for inflation. I did not intend to be redundant, I had not read your post before responding.
The cost of some of these projects are phenomenal. The new I-70 bridge in downtown St. Louis is under construction. It is estimated to cost $667 MILLION to complete.
Wonder how much of that is actual construction cost and how much goes to the St. Louis union bosses?
I think one huge solution to the crowded commutes in urban areas is telecommuting. It saves gas and time. I got a heck of a lot more work done at home than in the office.
Of course not all jobs can telecommute but a lot of them can. There isn't much manufacturing left in downtown St. Louis and Kansas City where many of the highest cost highway construction is. Much of it is due to urban decay where more and more are moving to St. Chares/Arnold and then driving to downtown.
Flex time was a big new thing in the 80's. I wonder how much of that is still in place. At Anheuser-Bush you could come in as early as 5AM and leave at 2PM or as late as 10AM and leave at 7PM. Sure would help the rush-hour jams.
I think there are more solutions than more roads and higher taxes. Having said that people will buy gas at about any price. If you put a 50cent tax on gas people will likely still buy it. I'm not advocating that!
Stop the urban sprawl and you stop a lot of the need for road expansion. Do we really need a McDonalds or another Wallyworld at every exit or heaven forbid another strip mall when half the existing ones are empty.
"Stop the urban sprawl"
How you going to do that.... another executive order from Der Fuhrer?
Source Estimated Amount
Illinois Funding $313 million
Missouri Funding $115 million
Federal Funding $239 million
-- Posted by Have_Wheels_Will_Travel on Tue, Feb 5, 2013, at 10:50 AM
Municipalities and states need to make it clear to developers that just because you build it does not mean we are going to support it with taxpayer money. They build all this garbage and then try to turn it over to taxpayers. I
"They build all this garbage and then try to turn it over to taxpayers."
The cities and the municipalities generally have requirements that must be met before they will assume ownership and maintenance of a subdivision's infrastructure. So, in essence, they do that.
However, the municipalities usually want to annex the subdivisions because they want the tax revenue from the properties it includes. The residents who find themselves thus annexed, whether requested or forced upon them, have a reasonable expectation that the municipality will maintain their infrastructure in exchange for the taxes they pay. They, too, are taxpayers, as is the developer.
Municipalities generally find it cheaper and faster to allow developers to install the infrastructure and build the homes before they annex them, than to annex the emply ground and install the infrastructure themselves.
Sometimes, developers will shortchange the residents by installing substandard infrastructure which the municipality finds it necessary, and costly, to upgrade. However, the municipality is under no obligation to annex the subdivision, and has the authority to demand the upgrades before agreeing to do so.
I believe Cape Girardeau had such an issue only recently.
The reason behind a push for a new road is somtimes less traffic need for a new road as it is for new opportunity for increased land value.
Look closely and you might find a politition or his close family/friends own the land.
-- Posted by Old John on Tue, Feb 5, 2013, at 2:49 PM
Take Siemers drive for example. A substandard road built by and for a local developer. Then handed off to the city who is then responsible because it suddenly is not adequate.
"Take Siemers drive for example. A substandard road built by and for a local developer."
The city was under no obligation to accept it.
What data do you have to support this?
-- Posted by 3forone on Tue, Feb 5, 2013, at 3:25 PM
It wasn't substandard when it was built.
What is substandard about Siemers Drive? I never understood why the curves were built into it but otherwise it seems to be working ok as far as I can tell.
Of course I'm slow to catch on, still trying to figure out the stop signs at the Glugite ditch crossing in front of Sam's.
-- Posted by 3forone on Tue, Feb 5, 2013, at 3:25 PM
If a development is built inside the corporate limits of most cities, plans must be approved and standards must be met before there is an agreement by the city to make a street public.
I went through it. A redundant detention basin had to be built less than 300 yards upstream of an existing detention basin in the county because the city could not control it. Else no permits would be issued. The city laid out the specifications for streets and sidewalks and had an inspector on site the entire time the street was being built plus concrete had to be collected periodically for later testing. Once everything was turned over I had to guarantee with a letter of credit for 10% of the cost for all city required improvements for one year. Not all cities, and I suggest very few allow a developer to pass off shoddy materials on a new development. Annexing a 10 year old development is another matter.
Wheels, Campaign donations to the right office holders could have been less costly or
what would it have cost to hire Al Sharpton to persuade the council in your favor? ;)
-- Posted by Old John on Wed, Feb 6, 2013, at 12:27 PM
The campaign donations may have worked, but could be a little risky. We had a neighboring town's mayor go for some "campaign donations" or whatever you would like to call them. He lost his job and wound up in the big house for a spell. This happened about 5 years ago.
Don't think I fit in Al's color scheme.
Wheels, I must of had a senior moment, now I recall, you don't live in Chicago.
Anyone know what this has to do with transportaion?
DOT's Southeast Coalition for Roadway Safety Offers Grants to Local Schools for Lock-In Events
The MoDOT's Southeast Coalition for Roadway Safety is offering grants to local schools that host student lock-in events for Project Prom or graduation. Ten qualifying schools will receive $200 to help with expenses for location rental, food, entertainment and door prizes. The Southeast Coalition will accept applications from schools in the southeast region until March 8th. Interested schools and-or their sponsors can find Community Outreach Grant applications online at www.savemolives.com/southeast/resources.... or by contacting Sandra Taurone at 573-472-5388 or firstname.lastname@example.org
"Anyone know what this has to do with transportaion?"
Preventing DWIs is directly related to transportion and safety. $2000 invested to save lives, sounds like a good return on investment.
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