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Funding for Highways

February 04, 1988

The governor's spokesman makes a good point in "Put Idle U.S. Fees to Work Before Hiking State Gas Tax," (by John Sullivan, Op-Ed Page, Jan. 24). California's traffic congestion is taking its toll on drivers in frustration and lost time and money. But California taxpayers should not be asked to pay more state gas taxes, while Washington continues to hold our federal gas taxes to artificially reduce the federal budget deficit.

Fairness and equity demand that we get our fair share and full value for our tax dollars before the public is ever asked to consider a gas tax increase. Unfortunately, Sullivan's common sense ends there.

In the search for short-term alternatives to fill the gap between what we have and what we should get from Washington, he concludes that the governor's plan to use general obligation bonds to fund highways is "turning out to be the right tool for a time of uncertainty." The idea isn't new. It was used around the turn of the century and rightfully belongs to the bureaucrats of that era.

General obligation bonds will reduce funds for education, health care and law enforcement. Somehow, it just doesn't make sense to have kids, the sick, and the public's safety competing with highways for the same scarce dollars.

Revenue bonds make more sense. They're paid for with existing gas taxes and other transportation fees--the same funds we use for highways and transit systems.

The search for ways to relieve our traffic frustrations shouldn't lead us down the wrong road. We need a shot in the arm for transportation, not a slap in the face for our kids.


Assembly Chairman

Transportation Committee


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