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Highway Taxes

March 09, 1994

* A letter by Stanley Hart of the Sierra Club (Feb. 22) repeats the persistent myth of outrageous subsidies to automobile drivers.

In fact the opposite is true. In 1989, total U.S. expenditures by all levels of government for the administration, planning, research, development, land procurement, building, maintaining, operating, enforcing, and debt service for our national road system were $70.9 billion. In that same year, total user fees, defined as all government receipts incident to the ownership and use of road vehicles and roads, were $87.3 billion. Uniquely among transportation systems, our road system more than paid for itself, and, in fact, returned a significant profit of some $16 billion or 23% to the government. Since the imposition in the last year of an additional 4-cent gas tax for deficit reduction, this profit is probably somewhat higher.

A. JACK MALLINCKRODT

Santa Ana

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