What’s the biggest expense for people in the lowest income bracket? Housing? Food? Medical care?
Across all income levels, transportation comes in as the second largest expenditure. It’s a big deal.
Places to go; people to see. Often, it’s business to do. Our way of life depends on moving things and people around.
The Washington Post headlined a recent story, “Infrastructure is a priority, survey shows, but paying for it isn’t.” The implication? Americans want a free lunch.
That’s bad. But not true.
The Post should have made it clear that people are specifically skeptical about “paying for it” through higher taxes. The Rockefeller Foundation Infrastructure Survey found that over 70 percent of us oppose raising the gas tax, 64 percent are against adding tolls to existing highways, and 58 percent aghast at the thought of a tax on each mile driven.
However, the survey’s most interesting number was 78 — that’s the overwhelming percentage of Americans who want private sector investment in transportation projects. As consumers, we know we’re not responsible for all the costs and cost overruns involved in bringing most products or services to market. When we decide to purchase something we do pay some of these costs, but not before. Privatizing transportation would allow market forces like “price” and “consumer demand” to get better transportation to market, with investors — not consumers — taking the bulk of the risk.
Or we could let politicians and bureaucrats continue to make things worse.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.