Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Debate over the Gas Tax and Post Roads

There is an interesting debate going on in comments section on an article in Bloomberg about a proposal to end the federal gas tax and phase out funding for new construction under the federal roads program.

The idea Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Representative Jeff Flake of Arizona, want to abolish the tax that pays for the federal highway program and replace the whole system with one overseen by individual states. 

So how did the United States get into the business of constructing roads?

It is in the constitution, Article 1, Section 8 which gives the power to Congress "to establish post offices and post roads."

Post roads were built in New England and New York state. The Post Road Act of 1912 began the first modern Federal involvement in highway funding in order to allow mail transported by truck to get through. The rest, including the Interstate System is history.

No comments: