Traffic drop from stay-at-home orders imperils road funding

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    • #302126
      Ohio Barbarian
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      • Total Posts: 14,676

      This is a fairly in-depth piece from the AP. Yet another ripple effect of the pandemic that our corrupt political leadership did not see coming:

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      Reduced traffic volumes are expected to cause a sharp drop in state revenue from fuel taxes, tolls and other user fees that could force delays for thousands of projects nationwide unless the federal government intervenes.

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      Leaders of state transportation agencies have asked Congress for an immediate $50 billion to prevent major cuts to road and bridge projects over the next year and a half. As an economic stimulus, they also want Congress to authorize a long-term plan that doubles the amount of regular funding going to state transportation agencies.

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      A $2 trillion federal stimulus package enacted last month included billions for public transit systems, publicly owned commercial airports and Amtrak passenger train service — all of which have seen sharp declines in customers as a result of the coronavirus. But it earmarked nothing for state highways and bridges.

      Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic House leaders have expressed support for a big infrastructure spending plan as part of another economic stimulus bill. But similar pronouncements in previous years have failed to produce results.

      Full story here.

      Pretty good journalism, I think. It also talks about the pandemic’s effects thus far on highway maintenance in several states.

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I'll show you a crook.--Harry Truman

    • #302131
      ThouArtThat
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      • Total Posts: 3,325

      @ohiobarbarian

      Hi ob,

      From a climate change perspective, this is good news because concrete is one of the worst construction materials due to CO2.

      TAT

      Rights aren't rights if someone can take them away. They're privileges.
      That's all we've ever had in this country, is a bill of temporary privileges.

      - George Carlin

      Sooner or later we all sit down to a banquet of consequences.

      - Robert Louis Stevenson

      Politics is the entertainment division of the Military Industrial Complex.

      - Frank Zappa

      • #302158
        Ohio Barbarian
        Moderator
        • Total Posts: 14,676

        The taste, smell and feel of the air has been so clean the last couple of weeks! I have never seen the Ohio sky bluer for longer in the Cleveland area, except for maybe in a really cold spell in the dead of winter.

        Now it reminds me of the sky in the middle of the Pacific or Indian Ocean. The local wildlife seems to be quite happy about it as well. @thouartthat

        It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

        Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I'll show you a crook.--Harry Truman

    • #302132
      retired liberal
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 2,716

      Or anything is, for that matter.
      Changing anything causes a ripple effect outward, effecting many other things, which in turn, each thing effects even more stuff.

      We are an arrogant species, believing our fantasy based "facts" are better than the other person's fake facts.
      If you are wrong, it will be because you are not cynical enough.
      Both major political parties are special interest groups enabling each other for power and money, at the expense of the people they no longer properly serve…
      Always wear a proper mask when out and about. The life you save could be both yours and mine.

      • #302161
        Ohio Barbarian
        Moderator
        • Total Posts: 14,676

        @retiredliberal When was the last time a presidential administration really took an interest and succeeded in maintaining and expanding our transportation infrastructure? Nixon? I’m not sure. But it’s been awhile.

        Our ruling political class has completely forgotten how to govern and maintain the routine and mundane things government is supposed to do for its people. For several administrations now they’ve mostly either ignored it or actively undercut it.

        It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

        Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I'll show you a crook.--Harry Truman

    • #302156
      Gryneos
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 948

      Ever since they decided to have a price-war with Russia, gasoline prices have been dropping. The only taxes related to roads that remains constant are tolls. Sure, everything is down, but if the governments had just looked at what the outcome would be as more people worked from home, starting twenty years ago, they might have been better prepared for all of this.

      I’d say it also depends on the state government. Texas has had a “rainy day fund” for many years. In 2017 they had more than enough reason to use some of it when Houston flooded from Harvey, yet even then, they refused to distribute any of that funding. My only guess for the reasoning is that they will only use it if it isn’t a national emergency. Anything to not spend money on the people, in other words.

      Who are you? | What do you want? | Why are you here? | Where are you going? | Do you have anything worth living for? | Who do you serve and who do you trust?

      • #302165
        Ohio Barbarian
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        • Total Posts: 14,676

        @gryneos The funds most states rely on to maintain highways come from sales taxes on gasoline, tolls, and maybe sales taxes that go into general funds as well.

        People aren’t driving nearly as much so they’re not buying as much gas. Most states charge so many cents a gallon tax. All that matters is far fewer gallons of gas are being sold and taxed.  Toll roads collect far fewer tolls. Most stores and restaurants are either closed outright on making far fewer sales, so the sales tax revenue drops.

        BAM! Instant drop in the old highway funds. And yet no one in the Trump Administration or Congress or the corporate media saw this coming. We really are in an idiocracy.

        It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

        Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I'll show you a crook.--Harry Truman

        • #302201
          Gryneos
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          • Total Posts: 948

          we had the concept of “telecommuting” or work from home. It was even pushed for a while, but most businesses balked at the idea, mostly because they couldn’t micromanage people (that is still the primary reason not to do it.) I know about the taxes within the fuel costs, but prices did drop considerably when the Saudis began their price war with Russia. Yes, I know demand is down and so prices drop. I just know from experience that the Saudis/OPEC have considerable influence on oil/fuel prices. I live in Houston, so I see it happen every time there’s even a hint at them threatening to glut the market.


          @ohiobarbarian

          Who are you? | What do you want? | Why are you here? | Where are you going? | Do you have anything worth living for? | Who do you serve and who do you trust?

          • #302206
            Ohio Barbarian
            Moderator
            • Total Posts: 14,676

            The price of gasoline has nothing to do with gasoline taxes. If your state’s gas tax is 10 cents a gallon, and you put ten gallons in the tank, the state gets a buck. The state still gets its buck whether you paid $30 or $20 for your ten gallons. If you’re only filling up the tank once a month now instead of once a week. the state’s tax revenue from you just dropped by a factor of four.

            Multiply that by millions and it’s easy to see the impact.

            It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

            Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I'll show you a crook.--Harry Truman

            • #302330
              Gryneos
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              • Total Posts: 948

              I never said that the price of gasoline was dependent upon taxes. I said it was dependent upon oil prices (such as due to a global glut caused by bad actors), and by demand. I only emphasized that that the drop was started by the Saudis and that their influence on prices is immense. That influence is then felt locally every time they even just threaten to pump/produce more oil.

              Who are you? | What do you want? | Why are you here? | Where are you going? | Do you have anything worth living for? | Who do you serve and who do you trust?

    • #302173
      Bernice Ta
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      • Total Posts: 173

      It’s part of a big upgrade for a major road, oddly called Church St, though there’s not a church on it, to my knowledge, or ever was. The guys have been out there every clear day for months. It may be that funds will shortly run out, but they’re working at the moment.

      Anyway, it’s good for the environment when we stay home, don’t drive or fly so much, but people depend on that income so they suffer. The government should understand it, but I don’t think those that do really care that much.

      • #302193
        Ohio Barbarian
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        • Total Posts: 14,676

        @berniceta Several states are spending the money they have on hand to finish construction projects quicker precisely because there is less traffic now. I suppose some had more cash no hand than others, or maybe they had different lockdown rules.

        It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

        Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I'll show you a crook.--Harry Truman

      • #302194
        Ohio Barbarian
        Moderator
        • Total Posts: 14,676

        @berniceta It says several states are spending the money they have on hand to finish construction projects quicker precisely because there is less traffic now. I suppose some had more cash on hand than others, or maybe they had different lockdown rules.

        It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

        Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I'll show you a crook.--Harry Truman

    • #302324
      The Red Menace
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      • Total Posts: 1,080

      And this is the trouble with making funding dependent on matching taxes. Whether it’s schools, roads, the post office, whatever. All these public services EXPLICITLY have their funding tied to matching tax revenue.

      The problem is that so many Americans think that government finance works just like personal finance. I have to collect a dollar before I can spend a dollar, right? With this logic it makes sense that you need X tax revenues to have Y monies for the project. But that’s NOT AT ALL how government finances work. If the government needs to spend a dollar, then it creates the dollar. Poof, there it is.

      This is why there’s always money for gunships with no ammunition, this is why there’s always money for bank bailouts, this is why there’s always money for corporate slush funds… and is also why every single socially progressive or “common good” program is tied explicitly to tax revenues.

      We need to get out of this trap of “How will we pay for it?”  – Just enacting the policy pays for the policy. it’s THAT fucking simple, by authorizing spending, Congress invents the funds needed for the program.

      • #302326
        Ohio Barbarian
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        • Total Posts: 14,676

        @twilightsporkle I’ve never liked regressive taxes like sales taxes anyway. The less you make, the greater a percentage of your income you pay in them.

        It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

        Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I'll show you a crook.--Harry Truman

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