Letters to the Editor: Raising gas taxes hurts the poor. Make the rich pay for better roads

·2 min read
GORMAN, CA - NOVEMBER 27, 2019 Traffic continued to roll on the Interstate 5 Freeway Wednesday morning at the top of the 4,160 elevation Tejon Pass between Gorman and Frazier Park linking Southern California to the Central Valley as a storm out of the Gulf of Alaskas slid into the Southland today unleashing rain, snow, and cold winds through Thanksgiving. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Traffic moves on I-5 through the Tejon Pass, a crucial highway segment linking Los Angeles to the Central Valley and Northern California. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The federal gas tax, which columnist LZ Granderson wants increased to pay for infrastructure improvement, is one of the most regressive taxes that we have. Poor people tend to drive more because they cannot afford to live in the cities where they work and must commute longer distances.

While increasing the funding for roads and bridges is essential, we should be taxing those who can most afford it — the wealthy. If you wanted to tax the things that wreck roads the fastest, you would tax buses and garbage trucks, whose weight bends and breaks roads far greater than passenger cars.

Better to tax billionaires who have increased their wealth in the last year to astronomical levels.

Gary Powell, Encinitas

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To the editor: Granted, our infrastructure needs improvement, but does it make sense to raise taxes on a commodity that is slated to be phased out in California starting in 2035?

Assuming all current taxes are being used wisely, our roads are increasingly being used by cars powered by electricity. So, would raising taxes on gasoline to pay for roads be fair? Wise? Effective? Maybe we should think this through.

I'm not saying I have the answer, but giving this a few seconds' thought tells me this may not be a good long-term solution.

This is not even the drum I beat. You guys figure it out.

Wayne Leffler, Costa Mesa

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To the editor: One thing Granderson forgot to mention is that any incremental increase in the price of gasoline makes alternative fuel vehicles that much more attractive.

On top of having nicer roads to drive on, wouldn't you like to be the one driving on them in an electric or fuel cell vehicle who didn't even have to pay for them through gasoline taxes?

Win, win, win, I say.

Andrew Tilles, Studio City

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To the editor: Granderson did not mention how to pay for roads with gas taxes as more people start buying electric vehicles.

Will there be a tax on EV recharging stations or a meter in your EV that tells the state how many miles you've driven?

George Lissauer, Mar Vista

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.