POLITICS

Tim Carney: Ken Cuccinelli thinks drivers should pay for roads

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Virginia,Timothy P. Carney

Ken Cuccinelli got into Virginia politics a decade ago fighting against a sales-tax hike to pay for roads. He aligned himself against the developers who wanted the tax hike, while opposing tolls to pay for the roads.

Now that Gov. McDonnell has proposed a sales tax to pay for roads, Cuccinelli — running to replace him as governor — has said, why not let drivers pay for roads?

The Examiner’s Steve Contorno reports:

The plan Cuccinelli endorsed is being presented as a conservative alternative to McDonnell’s transportation package, which would eliminate the state gas tax and increase the sales tax and certain fees to raise $3.1 billion for roads, a top priority in vote-rich Northern Virginia.

The alternative plan would replace the current gas tax with a sales tax on gasoline that could rise with inflation and produce more money than the current flat tax of 17.5 cents per gallon. The measure also would eliminate $600 million in fee increases McDonnell proposed.

Here’s the principle at play: when government provides a service that is not specifically for the poor, that service should be as self-funding as possible. McDonnell has, at times, been comfortable with this idea, as I wrote just after he got elected.

Roads add economic value, but there’s no reason to externalize those costs.

If this topic interests you, see my previous posts, “Free Parking is Welfare” and “Save the Earth, Privatize the Highways.

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