Republicans want EV owners to pay for America’s infrastructure upgrades
It’s Alice in Wonderland time in America, a time when bottom is up, black is white and 2 + 2 = √∞, especially when it comes to elections. The truth is that America has spent very little in the past 40 years on repairing its transportation infrastructure.
There was a paroxysm of highway construction that ended in the 1980s. Since then America has been in the “as little as possible” mode. Patch it up, patch it up again and hope no one gets killed. Which means these shiny new roads, bridges and tunnels are now in desperate need of attention.
According to the American Road And Transportation Builders Association, there are around 220,000 bridges in need of repair or replacement in America. A third of bridges on motorways fall into this category. ARTBA says it would take 40 years to repair all bridges in need of refurbishment, and it would cost $ 41.8 billion.
There’s a popular myth that federal gasoline and diesel tax pays for the maintenance and repair of America’s roads, bridges, and tunnels, but nothing could be further from the truth. According to the Tax foundation:
Nationwide, motorway tolls and taxes made up only 50.4 percent of state and municipal road spending in 2011. State and local governments spent $ 153.0 billion on highway, road, and road spending, but collected only $ 77.1 billion in user fees and user taxes ($ 12.7 billion in tolls and usage fees, $ 41.2 billion in fuel taxes and $ 23.2 billion in vehicle license taxes). The remainder was funded by $ 30 billion in state and local revenue and $ 46 billion in federal aid (approximately $ 28 billion from federal gasoline tax and $ 18 billion from general federal or deficit-funded revenue).
The Biden administration proposes spending $ 174 billion to “boost the electric vehicle market and move away from gas-powered cars to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions.” The Republican counter offer loud CNBC, “Spending only $ 4 billion on electric vehicle infrastructure”. Ford, GM, Volkswagen and Lincoln are all planning for the day they stop selling private internal combustion engines.
Hyundai, Kia, Honda and even Toyota are introducing new battery electric models. Even Subaru and Mazda are joining the EV revolution. Rivian, Canoo, Lucid, and a dozen or so other electrical-only companies are about to begin marketing their vehicles in the United States. And then there’s the little California startup called Tesla that sells a couple of its own electric cars. Apparently Republicans do not believe that party believers would bend so low to drive an electric car, even if all manufacturers and most civilized nations do everything to ensure it does.
Appears on Face the nation Last week Susan Collins, the senior Maine senator, said electric vehicle users were “free riders” who should be forced to pay a fee. She added that any infrastructure supported by her party “would include a provision for electric vehicles to pay for their fair share of using our roads and bridges. At the moment they are literally free riders because they don’t pay petrol tax. “
In fact, Senator Collins, you are either deliberately ignorant or you deliberately lie. Even a little internet writer like me can find out in less than a second when the federal gas tax was last raised in 1993. Since then, the cost of building and maintaining transportation has skyrocketed, while inflation has reduced the purchasing power of this tax revenue by around 70%. To pretend that motorists who buy gasoline and diesel fuel are paying their “fair share” is simply wrong.
Collins was elected in 1996 and has never endorsed a federal fuel tax increase. In fact, she and her colleagues are afraid of such a proposal, knowing that if they dared to do their sworn duty, voters would punish them in the elections. Still, Collins drools over the idea of leaving it to electric vehicle owners.
Alternatives to the gas tax
There are legitimate reasons why a gas and diesel tax might not be the best way to fund America’s transportation infrastructure. The easiest and fairest way to do this is to charge a usage fee based on a combination of weight, fuel consumption and kilometers traveled. The technology for this is available, and some states are testing pilot programs that will install odometers in the volunteers’ cars.
The main concern of many motorists is the issue of data protection. They don’t want the government to know where they are going and when. The solution? Simply enter the number of miles driven each year when you renew your registration. It’s actually a little silly to worry about privacy concerns these days since most people have a smartphone in their pocket that keeps track of their location 24/7.
China is a leader in electric cars
When President Biden visited the Ford facility that makes the F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, he said, “China had installed over 800,000 electric vehicle charging stations for public use by the end of 2020, up from 516,000 in 2019 and 300,000 a year in 2019 2018. In December 2020 alone, China installed 112,000 public charging points – more than the entire public charging network in the USA. “After the event, he tweeted:” Get in, folks, we will win the competition for the 21st century. “
Americans have been trained by their political leaders to be concerned about “energy security.” We have to pump more oil than the Russians and the Saudis to preserve the freedom for which we have waged countless wars. So why are we ready to surrender dominance in electric vehicle manufacturing to China without a fight? Maybe Republicans think we should all just drive huge SUVs and pickups while the rest of the world moves to zero-emission transportation. American Exceptionalism has worked pretty well so far. Why fix what is not broken?
The GOP, which Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey now calls the Gas and Oil Party, has proven time and again that they are nothing but lackeys of the fossil fuel industry. The southwest is suffering from a massive heat wave, forest fires are raging and 40 million Americans are at risk of running out of water?
“Piffle,” say Collins and her colleagues. Drill, baby, drill! And hit anyone who says otherwise with exorbitant new taxes in the pit of your stomach. Progress is just a Commie Pinko, a liberal conspiracy to undermine America. But fear not, Collins and Co. are on their guard, ready to make America great again by turning the clock back to the good old days when Herbert Hoover was in the White House. It is difficult to exercise leadership when your gaze is always on the gaze in the rearview mirror.