Letter to the Editor: A vehicle tax would help repair our roads and bridgesI could not believe that the St. Louis County Board of Commissioners did not approve the vehicle fee/tax authorized by the 2013 legislative session!
I could not believe that the St. Louis County Board of Commissioners did not approve the vehicle fee/tax authorized by the 2013 legislative session!
Our roads and bridges are in awful shape, so this tax would have helped to fix them. About half of our 87 counties have already implemented this modest fee. I would prefer the gasoline tax to adequately fund not only county and township roads and bridges, but also city streets; however, neither St. Paul nor Washington have enough courage to do it.
It took the Minnesota Legislature from 1987, with Governor Rudy Perpich, to 2007 to get a modest increase by the Democratic majority and a few GOP votes to override Gov. Tim Pawlenty. That is still not enough, of course.
The state and federal per-gallon tax is about 50¢ whereas the international average is about $5 per gallon. The local bridges, roads and streets are funded with the most regressive property taxes on our homes and businesses, because the federal and state governments are not providing enough money.
I think it should be 100 percent gasoline tax and fees. Under our system, people who cannot afford to drive are paying for local transportation with their home taxes.
When I drive on the bad roads and streets I feel like something will bust in or on my car, which is a lot more expensive than a $10 per-vehicle fee, since auto shops charge around $100 per hour plus parts and taxes. I do not mind giving them the work, but if we had auto repair insurance, it would be much easier.
The writer was a Minnesota
state legislator 1973-80 and 1985-2008