2010-10-06 / Opinions

How much of the gas tax goes to road maintenance?

On Sept. 1 the [Chesterfield] Observer published our letter complaining about highway median maintenance, using our own [Route] 360 as an example and comparing with maintenance practices we have observed in North Carolina. In the Sept. 22 [issue of the] Observer, Wes Spruill offered an economics and math lesson based on the difference in gasoline taxes between the two states. Mr. Spruill’s point was basically that if we wanted to pay the same tax as the North Carolina folks, it would take care of the median maintenance problem. While Mr. Spruill’s calculations may be mathematically correct, the prices at the pump do not reflect the differences in state taxes.

As of Sept. 22 the price for a gallon of regular, unleaded gas is $2.54 at Murphy’s in Raleigh, N.C. At exactly the same time, the [local] price at Wawa is $2.47, typical of the lowest prices in our area. We frequently travel to North Carolina and find this difference to be typical. I now offer new math based on Mr. Spruill’s own logic: A difference of 7 cents per gallon, as opposed to Mr. Spruill’s 14.65 cents per gallon, requires dividing Mr. Spruill’s numbers by two or more, then ask why we planted trees in the [Route] 360 median with little apparent interest in maintaining them, and then ask the hypothetical question of how much of the 7-cents difference would be applied to actual median maintenance if the difference were to be collected by our government?

We believe most all of us know the very obvious answer.
Jerry and Anne McCracken

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