Highway fund is falling into holes | The Columbus Dispatch

Full story: Columbus Dispatch

After more than half a century, the federal fund that built many of the nation's highways and paid to keep them in order is going broke.
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wastherethen

Columbus, OH

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#1
Jul 4, 2011
 

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It is incomprehensible that this country does such a poor job maintaining its infrastructure.

The gas tax is simply a user fee. Although increasingly imperfect with the rise of hybrids, it's the best we've got right now.

Whether state of Federal, the tax on it has to rise, the sooner the better, with the proviso that the money can't be used for non-highway uses like sound barriers and high-line landscapping.
OSU Parent

Cleveland, OH

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#2
Jul 4, 2011
 

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It is time for an AUDIT of how and where the money is being spent.

There have been articles in the past that highlight projects such as BIKE TRAILS around the country and parks being funded out of the transportation fund.

Maybe if they spent the money on what it is intended instead of "That's nice" projects, there would be no need to raise taxes.
Big Johnson

Columbus, OH

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#3
Jul 4, 2011
 

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OSU Parent wrote:
It is time for an AUDIT of how and where the money is being spent.
There have been articles in the past that highlight projects such as BIKE TRAILS around the country and parks being funded out of the transportation fund.
Maybe if they spent the money on what it is intended instead of "That's nice" projects, there would be no need to raise taxes.
Bike trails, DUI roadblocks, lasers and other toys for cops, mass transit subsidies and other even more esoteric (mis)uses. The amount siphoned from the fund is staggering.
Retired

Columbus, OH

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#4
Jul 4, 2011
 

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We would have plenty of money for our own infrastructure if we had not poured billions into rebuilding Iraq .... and exactly where has THAT gotten us?!

People get their knickers in a knot over foreign aid, which in the grand scheme of things is a pittance. Mention cutting the defense budget and that's unAmerican. I'm NOT advocating anything that would directly impact our troops, but why do we build and rebuild and rebuild and rebuild again the same infrastructure in another country?

I do NOT understand the logic of it.
orange barrel

Columbus, OH

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#5
Jul 4, 2011
 

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It's going to be hard to cry poor to taxpayers when we drive through miles of lane closures on our roads and interstates.

There is a reason people joke that our state color is orange.
church lady

Circleville, OH

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#6
Jul 4, 2011
 

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Retired wrote:
We would have plenty of money for our own infrastructure if we had not poured billions into rebuilding Iraq .... and exactly where has THAT gotten us?!
People get their knickers in a knot over foreign aid, which in the grand scheme of things is a pittance. Mention cutting the defense budget and that's unAmerican. I'm NOT advocating anything that would directly impact our troops, but why do we build and rebuild and rebuild and rebuild again the same infrastructure in another country?
I do NOT understand the logic of it.
You said it all and that is my exact sentiment on this. Who in the world would EVER help our country? Enough already.
MFD

Mount Vernon, OH

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#7
Jul 4, 2011
 

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Don't let Sherry Brown near ths one. He's already failed several times this year..

Since: Jun 10

Canal Winchester, OH

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#8
Jul 4, 2011
 

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It is interesting that no sustaining formula was ever written to preserve the highway trust fund.
No increases to offset cost of living? Is it going to get cheaper to operate the fund and the associated highway system?
How about the infrastructure it is paying for? It seems natural that political porkers have found a way to tap the trust fund for other (maybe unrelated) purposes.
If the program is not sustaining, then maybe we should abandon highways and invest in the programs that Europe uses - with considerably less dependance on foriegn oil and foriegn funding (mass transit by rail-shudder).
goldengirl

United States

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#9
Jul 4, 2011
 

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OSU Parent wrote:
It is time for an AUDIT of how and where the money is being spent.
There have been articles in the past that highlight projects such as BIKE TRAILS around the country and parks being funded out of the transportation fund.
Maybe if they spent the money on what it is intended instead of "That's nice" projects, there would be no need to raise taxes.
And let's not forget the friggin highway walls to deter noise. What a waste of money. Use gasoline tax money for the maintenance of the roads - not for any do-good ideas that some liberals may have.
goldengirl

United States

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#10
Jul 4, 2011
 

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Stop wasting highway tax monies on things NOT related to driving a motor vehicle - i.e. bike paths, mass transit (trains), noise walls on interstates etc. If you want bike trails - pay for them with some user fee but leave my taxes alone.
In the Know

Delaware, OH

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#11
Jul 4, 2011
 

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How about we do something about the fact that 20 cents on the dollar of gas tax money goes to construction costs (labor, asphalt, concrete, materials,and steel)?

The remaining 80 cents gets burnt navigating through endless environmental regulation full of duplication and ridiculous studies that result in meaningless conclusions. An eight grader could come to the same concusions as some of these multi-million dollar studies.

We will not get out of this hole until 70 cents of every dollar is spent on actual construction costs. Call your US Senator!!!!!!
Out in the Country

United States

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#12
Jul 4, 2011
 

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Retired wrote:
We would have plenty of money for our own infrastructure if we had not poured billions into rebuilding Iraq .... and exactly where has THAT gotten us?!
People get their knickers in a knot over foreign aid, which in the grand scheme of things is a pittance. Mention cutting the defense budget and that's unAmerican. I'm NOT advocating anything that would directly impact our troops, but why do we build and rebuild and rebuild and rebuild again the same infrastructure in another country?
I do NOT understand the logic of it.
There is a logic to it. It is called keeping the big wars from happening, and keeping small wars away from the United States homeland and focused on forward deployed US military units. And, that requires happy host countries.

You could make a case that we shouldn't do that, but then that means another power will fill that military and financial vacuum. As that entity grows in power, they may cause problems (i.e. wars) as they work to reform the world in their interests. If the problems get big enough, we may be drawn back in at very heavy cost to us as was done in WWI and WWII.

The negative experience of WWI and WWII was the problem US planners were attempting to avoid - they wanted to "nip the next big war in the bud" - so that there would never be another big war. As WWII was drawing to a close, with the Cold War looming on the horizon, they decided on a policy of projecting US power. And, doing that costs money.
Out in the Country

United States

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#13
Jul 4, 2011
 

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OSU Parent wrote:
It is time for an AUDIT of how and where the money is being spent.
There have been articles in the past that highlight projects such as BIKE TRAILS around the country and parks being funded out of the transportation fund.
Maybe if they spent the money on what it is intended instead of "That's nice" projects, there would be no need to raise taxes.
100% CORRECT! And, one more thing: How about them tearing up perfectly good highway and replacing it?

I understand that the State has to spend the money or loses it the next year, but wasting money on replacing perfectly good road is insulting.
Refreshing Cool Aid

Columbus, OH

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#14
Jul 4, 2011
 

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Well, well, well. Now we see the fallacy of the no-new-taxes tea party types. Folks, if you want it, if you need it, if you use it, you have to be prepared to PAY for it!

Complaining about sound barriers is a tiny part of the problem. We've built a highway system on steroids without any thought of the future and the problem is that changing use patterns (energy efficient vehicles, people driving less = lower revenues)coupled with higher fuel and material costs add up to a double whammy that there is no way to get out of unless we pay what it really costs to feed this monster.

Oh yes, we can toy with selling the Ohio Turnpike. Great. That might help for a couple of years, then it's back to square one. We still have a long term problem without a solution and that's just the highway side of things. We now have a state government hell-bent to kill any alternative to roads.

Ohio is totally unprepared to meet any challenges that might come its way. Whose fault is that? Kasich? The Republicans? Yes, they are villains, but Ohioans should look themselves in the mirror. They voted for these bozos.

This state has a complacent streak a mile wide and a natural skittishness toward actually doing anything to help itself. None of these problems are new and yet here we are. Events elsewhere should be pointing up the folly of not investing in transportation infrastructure, especially rail and transit, but noooo.

When the excrement hits the ventilator the next time gas prices go up, blame yourself for your unpreparedness, Ohio.
tom

Owatonna, MN

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#15
Jul 4, 2011
 

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We have spent many trillions on war and nation building. Yet our roads and nation crumbles...

Time to bring home troops and end world police force.
Refreshing Cool Aid

Columbus, OH

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#16
Jul 4, 2011
 

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Out in the Country wrote:
<quoted text>
100% CORRECT! And, one more thing: How about them tearing up perfectly good highway and replacing it?
I understand that the State has to spend the money or loses it the next year, but wasting money on replacing perfectly good road is insulting.
Now you're catching on. A friend of mine in Michigan noticed that for road projects they have buried in the fine print of alternative analyses, the cheapest option, which is to simply blacktop instead of a total rebuild. Highway contrators make more money by rebuilding roads instead of resurfacing and since the have political clout, that's what happens. Follow the money, folks.
Refreshing Cool Aid

Columbus, OH

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#17
Jul 4, 2011
 

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goldengirl wrote:
Stop wasting highway tax monies on things NOT related to driving a motor vehicle - i.e. bike paths, mass transit (trains), noise walls on interstates etc. If you want bike trails - pay for them with some user fee but leave my taxes alone.
Your taxes do not begin to pay all the costs of the highway system. Nearly half comes from non-users at the federal level, some of which do not drive. They are subsidizing your roads. Maybe they'd want at least some of those dollars to pay for things they can use?
Dog Eyes Watching

Chillicothe, OH

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#18
Jul 4, 2011
 

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Let's see............we are selling the prisons, leasing the turnpike so now is the time to sell off all the state owned buildings........we need to start with the governor's mansion, let each governor rent or lease his own housing while serving the state, contract for outside security for the governor and his family, will definitely be cheaper and have them pay for their own health insurance. That should cover the infractructure. Oh yeah, make the house and senate work a 40 hour week, pay for their own transportation (gas) and meals, cut up the credit card. This in itself will balance the budget.
Real Patriot

Columbus, OH

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#19
Jul 4, 2011
 

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The real problem is all you people buying CHEAP PLASTIC CRAP from COMMUNIST CHINA. Heavy trucks are killing the highways.
John

Grove City, OH

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#20
Jul 4, 2011
 

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We are witnessing the twilight of a superpower and it is sad. We have been sold out by politicians telling us that globalization and free trade are the answers. We have gutted our industrial infrastructure and sent it to China and the Pacific Rim and, by extension, the tax base that maintains things like roads and bridges, etc. The Third World countries are not becoming like us. We are becoming like them!

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