Classifieds | Archives | Jobs | About TGT | Contact | Subscribe
 | 
Last updated 1 hour, 5 minutes ago
Printer Friendly Version | TGT@Twitter | RSS Feed |
HOME LOCAL MIDEAST ASIA WORLD BUSINESS SPORT OPINION WRITERS
Lawrence J. McQuillan: How your taxes subsidise the California lifestyle
December 26, 2013
 Print    Send to Friend

The next time you swipe your debit or credit card at the gas pump, you’ll be doing more than filling your tank. You’ll also be helping to finance parks, bike paths, pedestrian walkways, overlooks, viewing areas, parking lots, turnouts, “stack-and-pack” housing and government land grabs in California. In short, you’ll be subsidising the California lifestyle, without enjoying any of the benefits. To understand how this works, just follow the money.

When you purchase gasoline in the United States, you pay an 18.4 cent-per-gallon federal gas tax. That money goes into the Highway Trust Fund, created in 1956 to fund the construction and repair of the Interstate Highway System.  To nobody’s real surprise, over time the trust fund has become a slush fund to finance various “smart growth” projects unrelated to highways. For example, the so-called Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), signed into law in July 2012 and funded primarily by the Highway Trust Fund, provides more than $105 billion in fiscal years 2013 and 2014 for “surface transportation programmes.” Those programmes, however, include far more than roads and bridges. They also include “transit, bike and pedestrian” projects. So, according to the government, walking is now a “surface transportation programme.”

But that’s not all: Nearly $800 million of MAP-21’s money also was funneled to the OneBayArea Grant Program (OBAG). This program, coordinated with Plan Bay Area, a master plan for housing, transportation, and land use in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area through 2040, was approved by the Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in July 2013.

According to official documents, the first round of MAP-21 OBAG funding commits $10 million to “Priority Conservation Areas” – primarily local government purchases of land for “long-term protection.”

This will further restrict private development in more than 100 Bay Area locations. From afar, this may seem like no big deal. But it is a big deal, since roughly 75 percent of the land in the Bay Area already is off limits to development. The effect of these government-supported land purchases, therefore – paid for with your gas money – will be to jam more people into a smaller area by creating more “open space” preserves. 

Your gas money is helping to finance this scheme as well. Your gas money also will fund Bay Area parks, bike paths, pedestrian walkways, scenic overlooks, viewing areas, and even parking lots. None of this will give you or anybody else better, safer highways. “Sustainable communities” advocates have captured the Highway Trust Fund to finance their lifestyle choices and political agenda. And it’s not just in California. Property owners in a seven-county area of South Florida – including Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties – currently are fighting a scheme similar to Plan Bay Area, called Seven50. In other words, the fever has spread from coast to coast. Most motorists probably aren’t aware where their gas money goes, but they know from experience that many of our highways and bridges are in terrible condition. Next time you hit one of those freeway potholes, be reminded that the money you paid at the pump to maintain our highways is being used to purchase land in Napa Valley, so wine snobs can ride their $5,000 mountain bikes. That’s how “smart growth” really works.

MCT

Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Comments
 
Post a comment
 
Name:
Country:
City:
Email:
Comment:
 
    
    
Related Stories
Dan K. Thomasson: Optimistic about gender equality in the US job market
With the prospect that one of their sex will occupy the Oval Office for the first time in history, women are bound to feel optimistic about achieving an equality with men..
Tom Peck: It’s the message that counts, not money
In the name of charity, everyone from Taylor Swift to Tiger Woods, Bill Gates and Vin Diesel is pouring iced water over their heads and sharing it over the internet. I..
Samir Saran: Waking up to an institution
In his 2001 paper titled “Building Better Global Economic Brics”, economist Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs calculated that “if the 2001/2002 outlook were to be extrapolated..
Dan K. Thomasson: Bloomberg injects money, influence into firearms debate
It may be a longer, hotter summer for the gun freaks than they have had in some time, mainly the National Rifle Association, which approaches every election with a strate..
Lawrence Summers: Britain and the limits of austerity
The British economy has experienced the most rapid growth in the G7 over the last few months. It increased at an annual rate of more than 3 per cent in the last quarter —..
 
FRONTPAGE
 
GALLERY
 
PANORAMA
 
TIME OUT
 
SPORT
 
 
Advertise | Copyright