This guest post by member Greg Morin was originally published in the Morgan County Citizen on Friday, March 23rd.
Tax discussions invariably devolve to a point where one side finds it necessary to resort to the “roads card.” The assumption with this rejoinder is that roads are a major and necessary function of government. Setting aside the “necessary” aspect for now, let’s address the “major” assumption. At first glance it would seem something as ubiquitous as roads must carry a heavy cost burden: they are everywhere, after all. But first glances are seldom correct. Let’s look at the numbers. In the state of Georgia, the FY2012 budget allocates a mere 0.03 percent of the budget to transportation. The proposed Federal FY2012 budget allocates only 2.8 percent to transportation. How can this major function of government be such a minor expense? The U.S. contains approximately 4 million total miles of all road types. We could repave all of it EVERY YEAR and it would only cost roughly $400 billion (1/10th of the budget).