Gas-Tax Hike Dodged — for How Long?

New Mexico’s motorists are surely delighted that the 2015 legislative session failed to increase the gasoline tax. Several bills were drafted to hike the levy, by as much as 59 percent. (The current rate is 17¢ per gallon.)

New Mexico’s economy is struggling to get traction — for every positive indicator reported, a discouraging statistic seems to appear — and thus the dollars flowing into the state’s highway fund remain weak. So pressure will remain intense for “revenue enhancement.”

To our east, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the Lone Star State’s free-market think tank, recently issued “The Road Forward,” a study outlining non-tax methods for affordable and effective transportation. Suggestions include the “design-build” method of contracting, more involvement by the private sector, and tough scrutiny of inefficient transit projects. (Rail Runner and Albuquerque Bus Rapid Transit, we’re talking about you.)

“The Road Forward” should be required reading for all New Mexico elected officials who support a higher gas tax.

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2 Replies to “Gas-Tax Hike Dodged — for How Long?”

  1. It’s nice that the gas tax was not increased but we need an answer to the poorly funded Road Fund. Either raise the tax to be a least similar to other states or take the money from the General Fund. If you use the General Fund every taxpayer funds the road work because they all benefit from a better transportation system. Raising the tax makes users pay (except for electric cars and proportional less for hybrids). I’m for a user fee based on how many miles a vehicle logs and the weight of the vehicle.

    1. Thanks for the thoughts Jim. I’d like to see the Davis-Bacon prevailing wage law addressed before the gas tax is raised. Ohio did a study that found elimination of its prevailing wage law on schools cut costs by 15%. I understand the user fee thing and think it has potential, but it is also fraught with “big-brother”-related problems. If there’s not enough transportation funding available even after the Davis-Bacon issue is addressed, then we can talk gas tax.

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