Do you think America needs better public transportation? Me too, but our local, state, and federal governments lack the vision to plan it and the political will to fund it. I’m not talking about maintaining current service levels during the recession, nor am I referring to a 10 or 20 percent increase in funding. I’m talking about investment in the system we need for our future. Currently the federal gas tax is 18.4 cents, a figure which hasn’t risen since 1993. Massachusetts adds an additional 41.9 cents. In Europe, taxes can amount to over 70% of the cost of fuel, but in America they make up only around 25% of the cost. Unless we pay more at the pump, we cannot reduce the collective miles we drive, nor can we afford bicycle lanes, trams, trolley buses, or trains.
In light of my representatives’ inaction, I have created my own gas tax. For every gallon of gasoline I buy, I will contribute 50 cents–nearly doubling the taxes I currently pay–to an organization that promotes more sustainable transportation options. I haven’t chosen the group yet, but I am thinking of Reconnecting America, the National Complete Streets Coalition, and the LivableStreets Alliance. I invite you to join me in my small effort towards creating a more sustainable and liveable America.