User fees for highways should extend to all users

OlympiaFebruary 13, 2014 

Washington currently has the 10th-highest gasoline tax in the country, but apparently needs more to manage our roads. I appreciated reading the quote in the Jan. 30 Olympian from Tracey Eide, co-chairwoman of the Senate Transportation Committee, where she said: “We need to look forward to how we’re going to fund transportation, and the road usage. You use the road, you pay for the road makes sense to me.”

I’ve grown to believe that in many instances user fees do make a lot of sense. But here’s the rub on this one: The Department of Transportation heavily subsidizes the ferry system, which means all of us who purchase gasoline or diesel fuel pitch in to pay for the ferry users.

Where’s the fairness and common sense in that?

Also, we have spent millions and millions of dollars for bike lanes, and associated infrastructure. Yet these users don’t contribute to pay for all this investment — a cost to every motorists — but directly benefits them.

As the senator said, you use the road, you pay for it. Makes sense to me, too.

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