Thursday, October 30, 2008
David Brooks believes that, rather than bailing out auto companies, or handing money to firms who hire more workers (whom they would have likely hired anyway), we should use the money to invest in a "National Mobility Project," or "a long-term investment in the country’s infrastructure."
It's not a bad idea to build highways. However, The funds for highways are most efficiently derived from toll roads, rather than income or corporate taxes.
Those who drive, and who drive most often, should pay for the construction and maintenance of the highways they use. This system would also amount to a de facto "carbon emissions tax," reduce traffic, and encourage people to consider other modes of transportation, all without raising income taxes.
Fiscal conservatives ought not to disagree with toll roads because, without them, our nation's highways amount to one giant subsidy for drivers. So long as we don't privatise highways, governments should charge for their use.
So, to all the phantom people who watch over the I-10 W: Build a tollbooth! If you promise that there it will no longer be bumper-to-bumper traffic at 3 am on a Sunday night, I promise, in turn, that I will pay the fee with a smile.