In the Dec. 8 column, I asked readers what they thought about a nickel increase in the gasoline tax, with the extra revenue going to mass transit. Some responses:

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I would support a gas tax as long as the money would go toward developing mass transit and not building more roads.

Karin M. Krchnak


Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I keep hearing people suggest that increasing the gas tax will give us more money for roads, etc. Gas taxes, cigarette taxes, etc., are regressive taxes that are felt much more by lower-income families than by higher-income families.

The politicians passing these tax increases make in excess of $100,000 a year, so these increases barely have an effect on them. But to the family bringing in $45,000 on two salaries with two kids to raise, it affects them deeply.

These families are stuck in the middle. They make too much to get assistance, but they don't make enough to ever get ahead.

If you want more money for roads, have the government spend what it has more efficiently and there will be more money left to put toward roads, schools and so on.

I, for one, feel that I am paying far more taxes than I should. After you subtract federal, state, local and Social Security taxes from your salary, there isn't a whole lot left over.

Then you have to pay property taxes, vehicle taxes (registration, licenses, emissions, etc.), sales taxes and gasoline taxes.

I am sure I am forgetting at least a few dozen more taxes that are out there, but my point should be clear. We already pay too many taxes!

If the people who make up the existing government cannot manage with what we are currently giving them, then they need to resign their position and allow someone in who can.

Jay King


Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I read in today's Post that Maryland is considering raising the gas tax by 10 cents per gallon, making us the highest-taxed state in the country on fuel. This would be fine if it would eliminate the traffic problem, but who really believes that will happen?

If new funds are used to build bigger and wider roads, developers will simply follow and overbuild houses, clogging the roads even before they are built.

It's time for the Metro area to bite the bullet and do whatever it takes to build the Purple Line around the Beltway.

Let's tie the spokes of this wheel together and start going in circles for a reason. I much prefer to see people drinking, eating, reading and applying makeup sitting on a rail car than driving slow in the fast lane.

Rick Rogers

Upper Marlboro

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

The only way to truly relieve traffic congestion in the Washington area is to follow the suggestion of Mark Reese in your Dec. 8 column that the Metro system be dramatically extended.

The Green Line needs to be extended out to Laurel because MARC runs only mornings and afternoons. Extend other lines to Indian Head, Waldorf, Crofton, Dulles Airport, etc., with adequate parking.

The Orange Line parking facilities at New Carrollton are full by 7:30 a.m. Ditto Landover. The Cheverly parking facilities are pathetic. The whole system appears to have been designed by a "committee" that had no concept of foresight about these needs.

Willis Mann


Easy Rider

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

A little over a year ago, I went back to work after a 15-year hiatus to raise my three daughters. I had a 45-minute commute. Each day as I encountered Interstate 270, I did not know what to expect.

When Interstate 370 would be backed up to merge onto I-270, I always knew trouble was ahead.

Then I found out about the Transhare program offered by my employer, NIH. It pays me to take the Metro each day. My two-mile commute to the Shady Grove Metro station is uneventful, and I can read and relax on the trip to Medical Center.

I am amazed that more people do not take advantage of this wonderful government perk. My husband does the same, and our commuting costs are almost nothing.

This will, in the long run, prolong the life of our vehicles and save me the daily aggravation of the traffic problems that so often plague I-270. I know many employers in the area offer subsidies to ride public transportation. I hope this may be an encouragement for others to see if it would work for them.

Janice Ryan Young


Transportation researcher Diane Mattingly contributed to this column.

Dr. Gridlock appears Sunday in the Metro section and Thursday in Montgomery Extra. You can write to Dr. Gridlock, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. He prefers to receive e-mail, at, or faxes, at 703-352-3908. Please include your full name, town, county and day and evening phone numbers. Dr. Gridlock cannot take phone calls.