By: Rick Blangiardi
Nobody likes new taxes but we should give some thought and study to Mayor Caldwell's proposal to raise the city's fuel tax 5 cents a gallon.
This is no doubt controversial. Not only are we talking about raising taxes but when we apply it to the most sensitive area of our spending - gas taxes - everyone shudders a bit. This particular proposal would increase the city's fuel tax from 16.5 cents a gallon to 21.5 cents a gallon.
But what hurts more is doing nothing about our pathetic roads which, according to one study, cost the average driver on Oahu an additional $701 a year in extra auto repairs. Seriously, where are we supposed to get money to fix some of the worst road conditions in the nation?
Part of the gas tax would also go to restoring bus cuts that have hurt those who need the transportation the most.
It takes no political courage for some members of the City Council to say, as some are proclaiming, that they would never vote for the increased gas tax. Who wants to vote for a tax, any tax?
But we applaud Caldwell for putting forth a budget that would charge the people who use the road to pay for what everyone would argue is the worse infrastructure problem we have.
If we cannot have basic road maintenance, what message does that send to our citizens, businesses and visitors?