Gas tax must come with accountability

Published 11:00 pm Friday, February 1, 2013

Would you be willing to pay $50 more per year for gas if that meant better roads and bridges in Pike County?

County officials are banking on just that as they work to push an effort to pass a 5-cent tax on gasoline sales.

The measure, which would have to be approved by the state Legislature, would earmark the funds forroad and bridge repairs throughout the county – something county officials say is desperately needed. County Engineer Russell Oliver recently said the county needs to spend $1.8 million every year in order to resurface roads – and at that pace each road would be resurfaced only once every 20 years. And Pike County simply doesn’t have enough revenue to cover that expense.

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There’s no doubt our roads and bridges need repairs and resurfacing. The question for Pike County residents is whether or not we’re willing to pay for the infastructure we want.

Is an additional gas tax, which would tax both local residents and those passing through on U.S. 231, the best avenue for generating that revenue? Perhaps so.

The reality is we need improved roads and bridges here in Pike County. And simply wishing for a windfall isn’t going to solve the problem. Instead, we need to thoughtfully consider this tax proposal, working to hold our county officials accountable for the spending of any revenues and ensuring that the management of the county’s road department is as efficient and effective as possible.