Summit Daily editorial: Solving our gas tax conundrum |

Summit Daily editorial: Solving our gas tax conundrum

Representative Jared Polis filed an amendment to a federal transportation bill that would designate the section of Interstate 70 from Denver to Salt Lake City as a high-priority corridor. That means more money available for repairs and improvements for North America’s ski highway. Summit County would likely get a cut.

Great job, congressman.

Whether or not we embrace crowds of Front Rangers coming en masse to Summit County on the weekends, the fact is, they are the lifeblood or our tourism-based economy. And we need a transportation system that works for them.

However, it’s clear that the gas tax, unless it’s drastically increased, won’t continue to provide the funds to pay for the kind of infrastructure we will need in the future.

Our assistant county manager Thad Noll said it well.

“Somehow, we have to come up with some new paradigm for transportation funding,” he said. “We can’t continue to fund transportation with fossil fuels when we’re trying to get rid of fossil fuels.”

The tide is turning against fossil fuels: President Obama on Friday rejected the Keystone Pipeline; cars continue to become more efficient, and travelers continue to demand more mass transit options. But we still need well-maintained roads and bridges alone. Gas-guzzling Volkswagens won’t get us out of this mess.

Colorado will have to innovate, to be sure, but we can’t get behind the state’s tentative efforts to explore an Oregon model that raises funds based on the number of miles traveled, rather than gas consumption. It is clearly a violation of privacy to monitor drivers (and a little creepy). But, on the other hand, it might scare more motorists into taking the bus for once.

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