Letter: Repeal gas tax and replace it with a wholesale tax
December 21, 2018
I am writing about my concerns for our lack of funding for CDOT, and what we can do to fix it. I have chosen this policy for my Civics project in Mr. Smith's class at Glenwood Springs High School. In order for them to fix our crumbling roads and bridges, they need funding by either taxpayers or budgeting from the general state fund.
Colorado has an overall D+ rating in our infrastructure, and something must be done about it. I believe we should start by fixing our roads and bridges. Out of 88,740 miles of public roads, 21 percent are considered to be in "poor" condition, and 40 percent of urban roads are in the same category, in addition to 5.7 percent of our bridges are structurally deficient.
While our legislature did set aside $1.9 billion for CDOT out of the general fund last year, they needed $9 billion to have sufficient funds to complete their projects over the next decade. One way we could increase CDOT's funding is by fixing the current 22 cent/gallon gas tax, which has not been raised or adjusted for inflation for the past 26.5 years. Since 2000 alone, construction costs have inflated up by 66.6 percent in 2016, and vehicles have gotten 10 percent more fuel efficient in those 16 years, making the gas tax less effective. To fix this problem, and increase the amount of funding that CDOT receives, since the current gas tax of 22 cents/gallon is 9 percent of the amount of the average retail price/gallon, $2.42, repealing the gas tax and replacing it with a wholesale tax of 10.5 percent will give CDOT more funds, as well as letting the tax adjust to inflation as gas prices increase over time. To implement this change, I believe that a 9.5 percent wholesale tax should be passed by legislature to take place on Jan. 1, 2020, with a 0.2 percent increase every year after that until 2025.