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KEEP GAS TAX MONEY IN COUNTIES

SHARE KEEP GAS TAX MONEY IN COUNTIES

In your Oct. 31 editorial, "Transportation price tag is cost that must be paid," you endorse Gov. Leavitt's proposal to implement a 1 cent per gallon annual gas tax increase for the next 10 years, starting at our current state gas tax of 19 cents per gallon to help pay the $3.5 billion cost of the Wasatch Front transportation improvements. You correctly state that gas tax is a form of user fee where those who make most use of the roads pay more for that use. However, that is true only so long as such taxes are spent in the same local area they are collected.

Those living or working anyplace outside the Wasatch Front must often travel much greater distances to work, shop, play and worship than those of us living between Provo and Ogden. Will their increased gas taxes stay in their local communities and counties to service the roads they are presumably paying to use, or will those taxes wind up in one big state pot, paying for roads they seldom if ever travel?Under current law, the latter is true. Why should we expect residents of Kane, Carbon, Washington or other rural counties to pay for transportation upgrades along the Wasatch Front? (It's amazing how quickly our governor has forgotten his professed rural roots.)

Or why should current residents be expected to pay for upgrades to accommodate future residents from California or elsewhere? The most equitable solution would be for gas taxes to be spent in the counties in which they are collected and only for roads and bridges open for unrestricted use by those paying the taxes and for a large portion of Wasatch Front upgrades to be paid for by impact fees on new construction.

Charles Hardy

Salt Lake City