Sales Tax Is Wrong Way To Fix Roads
Last weekend, my commentary about a proposed 1 percent sales tax to fund transportation infrastructure, which recently passed the Missouri House of Representatives, ran in the Columbia Daily Tribune. I argued that this sales tax, which would mostly be used to pay for roads and bridges, is not good economic policy and unfair to those who choose to drive less. As the commentary stated:
Paying for highways based on how much people shop, and not how much they drive, creates a free-rider problem. It promotes congestion, road degradation, and sprawl. It also is fundamentally unfair to force occasional drivers to pay as much or more for new roads as daily commuters and interstate trucking companies.
The better way to fix road funding in Missouri is to implement tolling or to raise the gas tax. With the Missouri Senate now considering this sales tax, it is more important than ever that people are informed about the policy implications of using general taxes to pay for transportation infrastructure.