ThinkProgress has an article about road pricing: Cars Are Getting Greener. Here’s A High Tech Alternative To The Gas Tax.. They quote me about Minnesota’s Gas Tax and I-35W:
“Like the rest of the country, Minnesota’s gas tax barely made a dent in the costs to repair the state’s abysmal infrastructure. Attempts to raise the state tax repeatedly failed in the legislature, in large part because the state’s Governor at the time, Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), had pledged to veto any tax increases whatsoever. That extra revenue might have generated more money to inspect and repair the I-35 bridge and others in similar condition. But since the Minnesota gas tax had not been raised since 1988, David Levinson of the University of Minnesota noted, ‘its purchasing power had diminished significantly, while the network was expanded and aged, and traffic levels increased.’
‘There [were] actually several proposals that year to do some repairs on that bridge,’ Natale said. But the legislature ‘defeated that. They just didn’t allow it to happen. The end result is, how much money did we spend replacing the bridge, and how many people were killed?’
The I-35 catastrophe rattled lawmakers’ attitudes. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) called the bridge disaster a ‘wake-up call’ to raise the alarm over infrastructure deficits all over the country.
Even Pawlenty wavered. ‘After the bridge collapsed, he initially said that we need to do something about the funding for inspections and repairs,’ Natale said. ‘That was what he said day 1. On day 4, he said, well we can fund this if we can find other things not to do.’”