I recently saw a post from Americans For Prosperity-Tennesse, an adjunct of the national group the Koch Bothers set up. They are proclaiming victory in blocking the governor’s pitch for a gas-tax increase.
In our view, that is a Pyrrhic victory for the people living here now. It has been our position that growth is inevitable here, but it should be responsible growth that is planned for.
While traffic congestion is lighter here than it is in New Jersey, the roads are already crowded in rush periods. Put cars from double the population on these roads, and we will become like New Jersey, or even worse.
There are sound aguments for user taxes
It makes sense that people using the roads should pay to improve them. If we are concerned that the gasoline tax hits poor people the hardest, maybe we should pump more money into public transit.
In Magnolia Trace, where I live, it is almost impossible during busy periods to make a left-turn onto Manchester Pike. Even though a huge planned residential development is in the works for farmland east of the roadway and 682 luxury homes are going up south of us, there are no state plans from improving Manchester Pike.
Many needed projects are on hold for lack of funds
Last summer and fall, Gov.Bill Haslam toured major cities in the state to raise public awareness of the problem and to push for increased road funding. He carried a 13-page list of road projects that the legislature has approved but which lack the funding to get started. He also displayed a 39-page list of road projects that are needed but won’t be started for at least six years because the money isn’t there.
The cost of completing currently backlogged projects has been put at $6.1 billion. I would argue there is no such thing as a free lunch. If we want to plan for growth, we need to fund infrastructure improvements to accommodate that growth.
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That is the chicken’s opinion. I welcome yours. My only requirement is that any response be limited to the same length as the chicken’s — about 300 words.