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D. P. Lubic

More on the cost of roads:

D. P. Lubic

Here are some links to more current information, some of which you likely already have and use:

General Link to HIghway Statistics, a USDOT publication:

Editions list:

2008 general link; this is the most current one available, and is a year younger than the one cited the the article above:

For me, the most interesting charts and tables are in Section 9, "Revenue."

Table HF-10, "Funding of Highways and Disposition of Revenues;" take note that motor fuel taxes and tolls, the two direct methods of charging drivers, total something over $94 billion, but that expenditures came to over $182 billion! Direct user fees thus only paid for 51% of total highway expenditures; the rest came from property taxes, sales taxes, etc., in other words, a subsidy.

Motor fuel tables:

Total highway motor fuel use was 170,765,303,000 gallons (or 171 billion for round numbers--I think I'm getting my decimals right).

If you subtract the highway revenues of $94 billion formt the expenditures of $182 billion, you come up with a shortfall of $88 billion. Dividing this $88 billion by the rounded consumption of 171 billion gallons works out to a subsidy of about 51.5 cents per gallon. This is on top of the $2.70 or whatever is the current price. It is also based only on cash flow; it doesn't include additional costs, such as deferred maintenance, costs of poor design (an example near where I live consists of a brand new bridge, costing millions of dollars, leading into a town square with a four-way stop sign that is a notorious area bottleneck; a proper solution would have included a bypass around the town, but for lack of money and other reasons, this was not pursued, general poor construction practices, and external costrs such as the effects of air pollution, and other things such as oil wars. My own seat-of-the-pants estimate is that gasoline really costs us about $7 per gallon, hidden in our income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, insurance costs and so on.

It is also interesting that even the most basic estimate of subsidy cost per gallon is not in the Highway Statistics reports; you have to work it out yourself, as shown above.

Another link from Highway Statistics, the status of the Federal Highway Trust Fund (originally set up to fund the construction of the Interstate system):

That thing only has money left in it because it has been bailed out for three years now with general revenue money.

Other charts and tables on the Federal Trust Fund:

Doing and internet search under something like "true cost of gasoline" brings up reports like this one:

I've commented about this before in other places on the internet, and I think it's worth repeating here. The American way of life, as defined by the dream of easy driving, is now our greatest security risk. In my opinion, we need to turn the clock back to deemphasise motor transport. This means bringing back trains and other rail transport, too, including local trolley cars and interurbans (intertown trolleys) as well.

Something like 65% of our oil consumption is for transportation, and with gasoline at 48% of the total, and trucks adding another 6%, means that motor fuel is 54% of total oil demand. Our highway system is our Achilles heel. We need to change, have needed to for a long time.

I just hope we have enough time left.

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