News, updates, commentary and more from BikeAthens. BikeAthens is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Athens, GA. BikeAthens promotes transportation and land-use policies that improve alternative modes of transportation, including pedestrian, cycling, and public transit options. The mission of our organization is to make alternative transportation a practical, convenient, and safe option for all citizens of Athens-Clarke County.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

ABH: "Perdue delays fuel tax increase"

The Banner-Herald reports that Gov. Purdue signed an executive order yesterday freezing the scheduled 2.9 cent gasoline tax increase.

This move is wrongheaded for a number of reasons:
1. The maintenance of the current tax rate is "expected to save drivers an average of about 50 cents per fill up." 50 whole cents!
2. This freeze is an attempt to get cars on the roads this summer for vacation spending, but "any attempt to fix the fuel crunch by tweaking gas taxes is not going put people back on the road or inspire them to take road trips - it's just going to take money away from needed highway maintenance, [AAA spokesman Randy] Bly said."
3. The fact that the motivation for all this pandering is to inspire people to take road trips is backwards. We have non-attainment status in the metro Atlanta area due to car-based air pollution. We have a very real and undeniably imminent climate change disaster on the horizon. We have a public health epidemic of inactivity and obesity. We have an ugly, car-dominant physical environment that disenfranchises citizens who cannot afford to own, operate, maintain, and fuel an automobile. We have a consumption-based economy that produces very little of value beyond sweltering fast food drive thrus and poorly constructed McMansions set in cul-de-sacs miles from any place. The last thing we need to encourage is recreational driving.

"It's just a bigger problem than can be fixed by adjusting the gas tax."
Your got that right. Let's keep the tax increase, but devote it entirely to:
  1. expanding our state's pathetic public transit infrastructure, especially regional light rail, and
  2. supporting pedestrian & bicycle infrastructure wherever feasible
These are the solutions that will create jobs, beautify our state, protect our air quality, provide options to the less affluent, contribute to decreasing climate changing pollutants, and demonstrate that our state and local leaders are serious about tackling serious problems.

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