“…Yes, driving declined for much of that time anyway. The point is how much more, and how much more lastingly, it might have dropped if gas taxes had just kept pace with inflation.

At least we could have had a closer fit between use of the roads and responsibility for maintaining them — and all the benefits, environmental, social and financial, that would have flowed from that.

For politicians, it’s axiomatic that raising gas taxes is electoral suicide. But is it? Eight states, mostly in the car-dependent South and Midwest, raised fuel taxes last year to pay for roads, and 98 percent of the legislators who voted for the hikes won their reelection primaries, according to a study by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.

Maybe after years of low gas prices, some voters feel they can afford to chip in a bit more for highway maintenance. Maybe out there in the heartland, Eisenhower’s spirit lives on.”

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