The Tennessean editorial “If we don’t pay for our roads, they’ll only get worse” generated numerous thoughtful comments on how Tennessee should pay for its road needs.
The state reports a $6 billion backlog in unfunded road projects across Tennessee, and the main source of funding — the gas tax — has diminished in value because of population growth, inflation, road building costs and higher fuel efficiency standards since the last time the state raised the tax in 1989.
Readers suggested a variety of potential new revenue sources, from raising the gas tax to creating a load tax, based on vehicle weight. Others suggested a gambling tax, a tax on marijuana or tolls.
Not everyone agreed with more taxes or fees; some suggested Tennessee should spend its money more wisely before asking lawmakers or voters for a tax increase.
Below, you can find a selection of comments, in full or in part, from the editorial online, a Facebook post from The Tennessean’s page promoting the editorial and via email. The Facebook reach exceeded 25,000 viewers, and there were more than 100 total comments posted.
Share your voice on how to resolve the state’s road needs by adding your view on the comments section or sending a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bill Straylow: “The long term solution is not keeping building more roads, wider roads, toll roads, and roads that encourage more driving while raising taxes to fund them and going into massive public debt. … As much as everyone hates it, it’s public transportation. Keeping the roads the way they are will force folks on to public transportation.”
Elise Stevens: “If you don’t want to raise taxes, that’s fine. Propose a workable alternative. But don’t get in the way of people who have useful ideas. Roads don’t fix themselves.”
Phillip Snow: “The gas tax should be used for only roads, not greenway and bike paths. Charge battery powered or hybrids a per mile fee instead of them getting a free ride. Furthermore, there should be a moratorium placed on all new road construction and put on repairing what we have now.”
Robbie Jones: “No one wants to pay more taxes, but our gas taxes are too low and do not provide adequate funding to maintain or improve our transportation infrastructure. We have no choice but to raise them.”