Independent Voices |

Independent Voices

Since Bush’s Iraq war will probably spill into other Middle East oil-producing countries, gas prices could skyrocket to $5 a gallon or more.

The United States has artificially low gas prices in comparison to other world countries, so it’s just a matter of time when reality will hit. Hence, a good mass transit system is paramount. A $10 investment to RFTA will give us a better return than a beer and a burger.

More taxes? The question really becomes, is it worth an additional tax of $10 a year to help defray transportation costs? The answer would depend on how the money would be used. If the money would go directly toward street repair, or other motorist transportation costs, then yes. If the tax would go to areas not related to motor vehicle costs, then no. If the tax is imposed, the administration of the funds should be closely monitored to ensure the money is used as intended.

In general I am not satisfied with the way the government spends our money, and I am not sure that giving them more money will solve any problems. Who exactly would be taxed this fee, since RFTA operates in parts of three counties? If, however, I could be assured that this money would be earmarked for alternative-fuel vehicles only, then it might be money well spent.

Although I do not use public transportation personally, I do believe it is a necessity and should be supported by nonusers as well as those that use it daily. Our supply of oil in the world is on the decline, and public transportation will become even more important as time goes by. A small tax on those of us who drive most of the time is a small price to pay if it will help keep the oil flowing even a little bit longer.

The RFTA issue is more convoluted than can be resolved by a simple $10 fee. Questions of who will pay the fee and how the money will be disbursed have not been answered. Area growth patterns, local economies, and the ability of three counties and several town councils to come to consensus on transportation needs and effectiveness must also be addressed before we throw more money at RFTA.

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