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.