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.
The summer has now ended, and I saved $49.18 for my cause. I decided to round that up to an even $50 and donate the money to the LivableStreets Alliance. It was at the top of my list along with WalkBoston for Massachusetts-based organizations promoting more sustainable transportation. I'm working for WalkBoston starting this September, so it seemed to make more sense to donate to LivableStreets.
From the LivableStreets Alliance website:
LivableStreets Alliance is a non-profit organization that believes urban transportation has the power to make Metro Boston more connected — and more livable. We challenge people to think differently and to demand a system that balances transit, walking, and biking with automobiles. We promote safe, convenient, and affordable transportation for all users in urban Boston. Streets that are enjoyable to use will better support neighborhoods and business districts.
Now that's an organization worthy of the money from my gas tax. Hopefully in the future we can get our elected representatives to raise the state and federal gas taxes to benefit our public transportation agencies directly.