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Increase Gas Tax fo Fund Mass Transit?

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This has come up recently at my job in response to a bill propsed in Massachusetts to fund commuter rail expansion using existing gas tax funds and other local sources. A different option would be to raise the gas tax in order to create new revenue to fund commuter rail projects in Massachusetts, with all the additional funds raised being dedicated to the major transit expansions that are proposed by the MBTA. I know this is the RI forum but I just want to get peoples opinion's on raising the gas tax in general. Currently Massachusetts' gas tax is quite low and hasn't been raised since 1991. What do you guys think? Should we raise it in order to dedicate new funds to transit, or will this just end up replacing existing mass transit funds once it begins?

Okay I had a poll in this but now it's gone?

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This has come up recently at my job in response to a bill propsed in Massachusetts to fund commuter rail expansion using existing gas tax funds and other local sources. A different option would be to raise the gas tax in order to create new revenue to fund commuter rail projects in Massachusetts, with all the additional funds raised being dedicated to the major transit expansions that are proposed by the MBTA. I know this is the RI forum but I just want to get peoples opinion's on raising the gas tax in general. Currently Massachusetts' gas tax is quite low and hasn't been raised since 1991. What do you guys think? Should we raise it in order to dedicate new funds to transit, or will this just end up replacing existing mass transit funds once it begins?

Okay I had a poll in this but now it's gone?

Tack on a dollar a gallon, with a hundred percent to transit and pedestrian/bicycle improvements, and I am all over it...

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the current gas tax should not be used for anything other than roads and transit and their infrastructure. i have a feeling that's not what it's being used for.

i don't really support increased taxes, but i think that they should setup a tax structure based on how good the mileage is on your car... meaning more taxes for trucks and SUV's unless you use them for a business that needs them.

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i agree with Jim. a tax on your MPG to encourage better CAFE standards, and more fuel efficient, cleaner burning cars is a good way to fund mass transit. THe problem with a tax of any kind is that the General Assembly just rewrites the language and all the $ gets dropped into the general fund ALL THE TIME.

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No way this is happening. There is no feasible way for me to get from Harrisville to Woonsocket every morning via Ripta without having to change down in Providence.

Once RIPTA provides some form of reasonable mass transit, I'd consider the tax.

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Seems silly to subsidize public transportation by taxing the very thing it seeks to cut down on (gas consumption).

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Silly? They're two sides of the same coin...tax gas heavily to subsidize transit and not only do you incent people to use better transit but you disincent them from driving!

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Silly? They're two sides of the same coin...tax gas heavily to subsidize transit and not only do you incent people to use better transit but you disincent them from driving!

That makes complete and total sense, but I don't see why it should be raised to encourage mass transit usage in areas where mass transit is already poor.

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I mean it makes sense, I just don't like the idea of strong-arming people into utilizing an already underperforming system. It's basically a tax on people who choose not to take the bus, forcing them to foot the bill for a service they'll never use. It's "if you build it, they will come" not the other way around.

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Tack on a dollar a gallon, with a hundred percent to transit and pedestrian/bicycle improvements, and I am all over it...

$2!

No way this is happening. There is no feasible way for me to get from Harrisville to Woonsocket every morning via Ripta without having to change down in Providence.

Once RIPTA provides some form of reasonable mass transit, I'd consider the tax.

No one is forcing you to commute beteen Woonsocket and Harrisville. I've made a conscious decision my entire life to live within transit or foot distance of my job. It serverely reduces my work and living options, but I'm not willing to trade my lifestyle for having to own a car and commute.

However, I still pay the taxes that go toward maintaining the roads and bridges that I do not use.

I don't really care where the money for transit comes from, it can come from the gas tax, it can come from the sky, the state simply needs to make the same commitment to transit that it does to roads. You don't hear about the state nearly running out of money and having to close Route 95 every year, why should we hear that in regards to transit.

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No one is forcing you to commute beteen Woonsocket and Harrisville. I've made a conscious decision my entire life to live within transit or foot distance of my job. It serverely reduces my work and living options, but I'm not willing to trade my lifestyle for having to own a car and commute.

However, I still pay the taxes that go toward maintaining the roads and bridges that I do not use.

I don't really care where the money for transit comes from, it can come from the gas tax, it can come from the sky, the state simply needs to make the same commitment to transit that it does to roads. You don't hear about the state nearly running out of money and having to close Route 95 every year, why should we hear that in regards to transit.

this is exactly why the state needs to fund roads with the gas tax and maybe consider adding tolls (think about all the people who use our roads simply to pass through). the local roads should be funded by the car tax. both of these taxes should not go to the general fund but rather to some very specific fund that cannot be touched except to repair roads and infrastructure and fund transit.

i have absolutely no problem with tolls or the current gas tax, but i do have a problem with increasing the gas tax simply to get people out of cars and onto public transit. for some, that's just not possible. i also have a problem with car taxes the way they are because they fund things that they shouldn't.

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The more people pay into mass transit, the better it will be, and the more people will be able to use it. So saying that its not fair for auto drivers to pay into something they wont use isn't really valid. Therefore, I'd be fine with a gas tax raise. A ten cent raise would barely would noticeable once the market adjusted and it would do wonders especially for commuter rail expansion projects.

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i have absolutely no problem with tolls or the current gas tax, but i do have a problem with increasing the gas tax simply to get people out of cars and onto public transit. for some, that's just not possible.

I don't see it is raising the gas tax to simply get people to use transit, higher taxes and the resulting better transit may translate into more people using transit, which would be nice, but the goal is to give transit the funding it deserves. The roads get funded, ports get funded, the airport gets funded, why should transit riders be forced to make tearful appeals to the state every year to get just level funding on our already inadequate service?

I think tolls are great, and I'm surprised our governor hasn't implemented them already. Afterall, he believes transit should fund itself at the fare box, if that's the case Don, shouldn't the roads fund themselves at the toll booth?

As to it not being possible for people to use transit, that's a choice some people have made. If people decide to live and work in areas that make it difficult or impossible to use transit, that's fine. We, as taxpayers have built roadways to make that lifestyle possible. As taxpayers we should also make the car-free lifestyle possible for those of us who choose to live it.

The gas tax can't go up but, but no one who drives cries foul when bus fares go up?

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I don't see it is raising the gas tax to simply get people to use transit, higher taxes and the resulting better transit may translate into more people using transit, which would be nice, but the goal is to give transit the funding it deserves. The roads get funded, ports get funded, the airport gets funded, why should transit riders be forced to make tearful appeals to the state every year to get just level funding on our already inadequate service?

I think tolls are great, and I'm surprised our governor hasn't implemented them already. Afterall, he believes transit should fund itself at the fare box, if that's the case Don, shouldn't the roads fund themselves at the toll booth?

i don't know why they won't put them in. we live in the perfect state to make some money off them considering the amount of people who simply use us to get to the cape or boston.

As to it not being possible for people to use transit, that's a choice some people have made. If people decide to live and work in areas that make it difficult or impossible to use transit, that's fine. We, as taxpayers have built roadways to make that lifestyle possible. As taxpayers we should also make the car-free lifestyle possible for those of us who choose to live it.
some people don't have the choice to simply choose or afford to take a different job... some people can only take what's available and that's not always in a public transit area.

The gas tax can't go up but, but no one who drives cries foul when bus fares go up?

i do. i've only used ripta once (in newport after doing the cliff walk) because their schedule doesn't suit my needs and i live close enough to work. if i could walk down the street, wait no more than 5 min for the bus, and still get to work by 8:30 (since the bus drive right by my building), i would. so on rainy days or really hot days, i drive to work. i have a free parking space there. i also have to wear a shirt and tie to work and can't wear sneakers. changing there isn't really an option. i'd walk everyday otherwise. today was a perfect walking day though, and i walked to work, home for lunch, back to work, and back home.

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today was a perfect walking day though, and i walked to work, home for lunch, back to work, and back home.

Today was gorgeous, what's up with that? Is it that global warming stuff I keep hearing about?

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Today was gorgeous, what's up with that? Is it that global warming stuff I keep hearing about?

i just looked at the weather for the rest of the week... friday and saturday don't seem like global warming to me... :P

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I would be ok with a gas tax for mass transit.

However what I would have a problem with is a gas tax that goes into the state general fund (AKA the Harrahgansett slush fund) and basically gets accounted away.

RI's gas tax is already very high and we know that property taxes on cars are high. I would be unsurprised to find out that taxes in RI pay for a larger percentage of road maintanence than most other states. Then again, the gas tax goes to the general fund right now, I believe, which means that it's mostly impossible to do the accounting.

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i don't know why they won't put them in. we live in the perfect state to make some money off them considering the amount of people who simply use us to get to the cape or boston.

i did a lot of driving between RI and Va this past year and loved using EZ Pass. And delaware would get a sizable chunk of the approximately $25 bucks it cost each way, and it was about 15 miles of roadway. No reaosn why we can't do that. Did 95 in RI used to have tolls? I know CT did, and then took them out after that terrible accident in Stamford.

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The car tax will most likely be completely phased out in either this coming Session, or 2008 session of the General Assembly. If things stay on course, of course.

Personally, I accept RIPTA and use my health care to get a free RIPTA bus pass and ride everywhere. I made it so I live on Federal Hill, work at the Statehouse or Commission for Human Rights (On Westminster, next to Dorrance), and CCRI in Lincoln for when I gotta tutor.

If you orchestrate it right, RIPTA doesn't suck (that bad).

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i did a lot of driving between RI and Va this past year and loved using EZ Pass. And delaware would get a sizable chunk of the approximately $25 bucks it cost each way, and it was about 15 miles of roadway. No reaosn why we can't do that. Did 95 in RI used to have tolls? I know CT did, and then took them out after that terrible accident in Stamford.

with EZ pass, there's almost no reason to not have tolls. i don't think 95 in RI had tolls, of course i barely remember the tolls in CT. i was really young when they took them down.

many people disagree with this, but tolls can be used as a traffic calming measure on the highway if they're designed properly (enough lanes at the exits that need them). they cause more traffic in NH than they need to because the ez pass lanes are in the middle rather than on the left (for those cruising by) and the right (for those just entering the highway). NJ seems to have it working really well for them.

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The car tax will most likely be completely phased out in either this coming Session, or 2008 session of the General Assembly. If things stay on course, of course.

Personally, I accept RIPTA and use my health care to get a free RIPTA bus pass and ride everywhere. I made it so I live on Federal Hill, work at the Statehouse or Commission for Human Rights (On Westminster, next to Dorrance), and CCRI in Lincoln for when I gotta tutor.

If you orchestrate it right, RIPTA doesn't suck (that bad).

I have to agree. I rode RITPA from Quonset all last summer to get to Capitol Hill and it only sucked on the occasional bus breakdown day. If you're willing to walk a little and sacrifice a little extra time then it's worth it. I saved a bunch of money on gas alone.

many people disagree with this, but tolls can be used as a traffic calming measure on the highway if they're designed properly (enough lanes at the exits that need them).

Why would we want traffic calming on a highway?

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Why would we want traffic calming on a highway?

i'm not talking slowing people down, i'm talking spreading people out.

i picture tolls in RI being similar to tolls on the mass pike. every exit/on-ramp has one until you get to providence and then there's just a general toll naer the city boundaries (probably just before the thurbers ave curve, spreading out the cars there and slowing people down before they get to it so there's not an accident there everyday). and maybe another toll somewhere on the other side of the city (probably mid-pawtucket).

i think this would send a lo more people who are just driving through anyways up 295 and around the city, making for that much less traffic through the city. i also picture a toll on 195 somehow to get those who are just using us to get to the cape. :D

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People would NEVER allow tolls though, they would fight this til it's dead. Imagine having to actually pay for a road that you use, ughh the humanity!! It'll never ever happen, but it's nice to dream.

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People would NEVER allow tolls though, they would fight this til it's dead. Imagine having to actually pay for a road that you use, ughh the humanity!! It'll never ever happen, but it's nice to dream.

yeah well... it's good to dream...

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No. DO NOT duplicate the Mass Pike setup! While I understand that the tolls provide a revenue source for very necessary road repairs, they are also responsible for a big share of traffic problems and cars crawling at 10 miles per hour. In particular the 495 tolls, the Weston Tolls, and the 84 tolls. They end up eating most of their income in operationa expenses anyway. If you want better toll designs look towards the Everret Turnpike in New Hampshire.

While I am posting, I will add that I am actually in favor of 10 cent tax on gas across New England. That money would go directly into a fund to take over and upgrade all the independently owned track that runs between cities up here, and establish a decent traffic and signaling system on them, so that effecient, lighter weight regional DMUs could be run between them.

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