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I lead an association representing hundreds of the small businesses owners who operate gas stations. I have been involved in the debate over the gas tax for 30 years and have always been a strident opponent of any increase in our state's gas tax. It is a position that has been shared not only by businesses, but the public, most legislators, and governors too.
But the more I analyze the desperate shape our Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) is in, the more I realize that all these years I have railed against increasing the gas tax have meant that I have been a part of the problem. Inflation has eaten away the value of our current gas tax. The situation has been made worse as politicians from both parties increased TTF spending by borrowing the additional revenues beyond what the TTF received in taxes. Now that the bill for that debt is due, there is no solution that does not include more revenue from somewhere. The TTF now spends every penny it receives to pay interest on the money it has borrowed. In fact we will now have to borrow additional funds in order to pay the interest on what we already borrowed!