Letter: The real problem: diversion of gas tax revenue
The Monitor either does not understand, is misinformed or chooses to not let the facts about the gas tax get in the way of an agenda. The March 15 editorial concerning HB 617, which raises the gas tax, starts off by bashing the Republican senators, who do not have any version of HB 617 to discuss, as it is still in committee in the House.
The editorial says that many people believe the state cannot “afford to help communities replace antiquated schools, red-listed bridges, inadequate wastewater treatment plants and failed sewer lines.” But not one cent of the gas tax goes to fund schools, wastewater treatment plants or sewer lines.
Highway funds are being raided by almost every state and federal agency. Part of the outrageous cost of the Interstate 93 project is environmental mitigation. To keep environmentalists happy, acres and acres are being purchased and taken off the tax rolls. The Department of Agriculture requires the Department of Transportation to test dirt placed beside the road for “invasive species.”
This money could be used for road building and repairs.
Do we need more state police? Over one fourth of the gas tax goes to state police. When I can drive from the Massachusetts border, the entire length of the New York Throughway to the Pennsylvania line and see only three troopers, but can see three lurking on I-93 between Penacook and Concord, we either have too many state police or they are not being managed efficiently.
The existing gas tax would be sufficient if the money were used strictly for road building and repair.
If HB 617 is enacted, Amendment 2013-0696h, offered by Rep. Bill O’Brien and others, which would ensure all money collected goes to the Department of Transportation, should be enacted with it.