NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Young's Highway Bill is One Big Wreck

March 13, 2003

In spite of the fact the nation is preparing for war, the economy is operating at less than full speed and 16 states are staring at record-high gas prices, Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska), head of the 75-member House Transportation Committee, thinks this is the ideal time to push for higher gas taxes.

  • Young wants to increase the federal gas tax -- currently more than 18 cents per gallon -- by another five cents and index it to inflation.
  • The federal tax is in addition to various state gas taxes, which already average 22 cents per gallon.
  • He needs $375 billion in revenues to finance a transportation bill that would be the largest public works spending measure in modern times, and a whopping 60 percent increase over the last highway bill that was itself a big-budget legend.

Young's thinking is antiquated, say critics. The world-wide trend in road construction and maintenance is toward public-private partnerships and toll financing, but his bill relies on the same old financing by taxpayers.

Source: Editorial, "Highway Robbery," Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2003.

For text,,SB104734691936777000-search,00.html


Browse more articles on Tax and Spending Issues