Hand in My Pocket

Posted on May 19, 2005
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President Bush may use his veto stamp for the first time as the 2005 federal transportation budget heading for his desk has burgeoned to $295 billion, $11 billion more than the limit he set previously. But is $284 billion really more reasonable. 


Sure, states benefit from federal transportation funding. Arizona is set to receive $75 million to fund light rail. But when you consider where all that money is coming from, it seems less like a boon for
Arizona and more like a boondoggle.


About 85 percent of federal transportation funding comes primarily from the federal gas tax, which amounts to more than 18 cents a gallon at the pump. So, that $75 million in light rail funding came out of your pocket. It seems pretty silly to send all that money to
just so they can send some of it back to us with instructions on how we should spend it.


Repealing the federal gas tax is a potential solution. And Arizona could very well come out ahead if we replaced the federal tax with a lower state tax that went directly to Arizona road projects instead of first routing tax dollars through


Profligate projects like light rail might be more palatable when it seems someone else is paying for them. But reach far enough into that bag of money the federal government is handing out and you will find your hand in your own pocket.

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