Las Vegas Sun

September 18, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Lifting the smog on highway taxes

Another view?

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In the column that ran May 5, “Charging for miles traveled will help fix roads, ease traffic,” authors Denvil Duncan and John Graham have a rational fix: Base one’s tax on mileage used (but throw in weight and whatever else wears down our highways too).

In Nevada, this should be a piece of cake. We already have to get a smog test, which requires the vehicle make, year, etc., so weight can be determined. It also shows mileage. Also, when one sells a car, the final mileage of the owner is recorded.

There you have it. A simple way to collect the information to assess highway tax fairly.

Come on, whomever is in charge. Let’s make Nevada No. 1 for sanity in collecting highway maintenance and construction taxes.

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  1. First we need sanity among our politicians. They're the nuts who spend like crazy and then whine they need "more, please!" We already pay through the nose when licensing our vehicles. What we pay is calculated on the year, worth and other factors of the vehicle. Then we pay a heavy fuel tax. Isn't that enough for the Carson City Clowns and their acolytes in Clark County? For those calling for additional taxes I say, write a check to the government agency you think is underfunded. No one is stopping you but leave me and my wallet alone!

  2. There is no fair way to assess taxes. By their nature, they are inherently flawed and false. The best case that can be made for any tax is that it be flat and equally applied to all.

    Carmine D

  3. There's little debate that we need more revenue to maintain our highway infrastructure. The Federal gasoline tax has remained the same since 1993 and the Nevada tax rate has been unchanged since 1992.

    During that time we have added sigificantly to our road system and inflation has added major costs to maintenance.

    Now with more fuel efficient cars and gasoline usage static or declining comes the problem of how to finance maintenance of transportation infrastructure. Add to this electric vehicles and natural gas powered fleet vehicles that do not participate in fuel taxation yet travel the State's roads and highways and you have a builtin inequity.

    Tax fairness becomes a complex issue. Take I-15 for example. It is 122 miles long in Nevada and 70+% of the state's population lives less than 80 miles from the border of another state. So:

    1. How do you capture revenue from transient non-commercial traffic that does not refuel in Nevada?

    2. How do you fairly tax Nevadan's mileage if much of it is accumulated in other states that have or will increase their gasoline tax?

  4. Jim, there is another way: Let private sector do the highway improvement and expansion. By all accounts, the private sector can do it in half the time, at half the cost, and twice the quality.

    Carmine D

  5. With the purchase of certain high performance new cars the buyer is charged what is called the" gas guzzler tax" this is a tax that is charged for poor mileage performance on this type of car.

    If you purchase a more fuel efficient vehicle its being suggested that the consumer should be charged a highway use fee because he or she is using less fuel which means less taxes collected.

    It appears that you are going to pay more in taxes not matter what you buy.Dammed if you do and dammed if you don't.

  6. CarmineD sez

    "By all accounts, the private sector can do it in half the time, at half the cost, and twice the quality."

    You have obviously created your own account here. Who do you think is out there building and repairing roads? The private sector that wins a contract by competitive bidding, that's who! You're letting negativity loosen your already tenuous grip on reality.

  7. Not into anything that can be so easily manipulated--letting those with juice pay nada while the rest of us carry them.

  8. Jim:

    You're not doing your homework. I can excuse Lobo lad but not you.

    "NDOT [Nevada Department of Transportation] was established in 1917 under the name of the Nevada Department of Highways. Until 1917, the state did not participate in any road improvements. The 1917 Legislature gave the state engineer general supervision of road work which was performed by convict labor. An appropriation of $20,000 was made, but the funds were quickly exhausted and all work ceased later that same year.

    When the 1917 Legislature passed the State Highway Law, Nevada began an active roadway program, which has grown to more than $500,000,000/per year of capital outlays to maintain and improve Nevada's highways."

    Carmine D

  9. "Taxes are false? You probably believe that BS. Sucker."

    Assumption: Paying taxes is easy. TRUE or FALSE?

    Carmine D

  10. Hombre: you are absolutely correct - big rigs DO pay an enormous amount of tax and licensing fees just to drive on our highways."

    A Federal Study some years back determined that the standard fully-loaded 40 ton semi rig damaged the roadway as much as almost 10,000 full-sized cars. I rather doubt that the actually spend nearly 10,000 times the amount I spend.

    You can FEEL that damage - drive for awhile in the right-most lane of a freeway of your choice - then move over to the left-most lane. Note the difference in road noise and movement.

  11. I always do my homework Lobo lad:

    "ROAD MAINTENANCE

    State roads are the lifeline for Nevada commutes, travel and commerce. They are also one of the state's largest public infrastructure investments. From snow removal and accident traffic control to repaving and repainting, NDOT maintenance forces perform nearly 100 different types of road maintenance-related tasks. All of these tasks help ensure public safety and mobility. And through many of these tasks, NDOT protects and upkeeps state roads with expertise, dedication and a recognition of the invaluable public investment of each roadway."

    "ROAD REHABILITATION

    "NDOT concisely evaluates pavement condition to repair roadways before reaching the point where more costly, time-involved repairs are needed; saving Nevada taxpayers millions every year. The program also saves drivers the time of waiting in extensive construction delays caused by major rehabilitation. This rehabilitation is undertaken by NDOT maintenance forces and road contractors."

    Carmine D

  12. Shame on you Lobo lad to have to ask. NDOT [as in Nevada Department of Transportation] is the key word. Google and search. Your poor teachers. You must drive them to early retirement or resignation.

    Carmine D

  13. Lobo, because I feel sorry for you and your teachers I'll give you another hint. Cut and paste a portion of the quote from my posts into your engine search bar. It will take you right to the NDOT web site. Surely you can do that can't you?

    Carmine D

  14. Uh, Weber, I-15 is a "Federal" highway. The feds contribute mucho moolah for its upkeep. Therefore, all drivers, where ever they reside, help maintain our Interstate system and, conversely, we pay to maintain theirs. Also, the toll roads I traveled in the past, primarily to avoid Chicago surface streets, were in far better condition than the pot-holed "free" stop-and-go routes. There's nothing wrong with private pay-as-you-go toll roads as long as there are alternative "free" highways for motorists to choose if they prefer. Jeff: lest you forget, the "highway to nowhere" was a federally sponsored booddoogle by an Alaska Senator. It was not funded willingly by the private sector. It was paid for by taxes sucked out of our wallets by pencil-pushing government bureaucratic drones.

  15. El_Lobo: Don't you think that your comment of 6:57 a.m. was perhaps just a tad out-of-bounds in asking CarmineD to provide a link for one of his comments and then adding "Giving a link is a kind of credibility that many posters take pride in doing but what could you possibly know about that???"

    Haven't you noticed? Carmine doesn't DO links. Not even for what he claims are direct quotes. We are expected to simply take his word(s) on an issue and then slip quietly away and behave ourselves.

    I'm always surprised at the ability of right wingers to blindly follow the "leadership" of the self-proclaimed "experts" who simply say "It's true, because I say so." Of course, that it so much easier to do that than it is to think for oneself or to go out and actually HUNT for information from multiple sources and then develop an opinion based on the results.

  16. Robert:

    It's about time you learned. If I say it, it's fact. But I do credit with quotes.

    Carmine D

  17. What a CROC we already pay fuel taxes for hiway maintenance. But the politicians spend it on CRIMINAL INVADERS and other useless crap!

  18. How about another option Lobo: The 3 Stooges. You can be all 3: Mo, Larry and Curley.

    Carmine D

  19. You're right. You are not acting, you are!

    Carmine D

  20. CarmineD: Anyone can insert a couple of quotation marks around a sentence. That does NOT equal a credit. A credit is who said it, where, and when. A link shows that easily with a simple copy/paste. Without a full credit a "quote" is meaningless and probably invented to support the writer's established position. No credit? Zero credibility!

  21. Robert: If you need a footnote for everything, become a teacher. If not, do your own research.
    Carmine D

  22. "Carmine.....

    "Sticks and stones may break my bones but insults from you will never hurt me...."

    No insults from me are needed. You do a good job with self incrimination.

    Carmine D