In his July 15 letter, “Neglected roads are costing us,” John F. Garziglia opined in response to the editorial in support of a federal gasoline tax increase [“Follow the states’ lead,” July 7] that the tax should be abolished, with taxing and decision-making relating to the funding of highway projects turned back to the states. The July 10 Retropolis article, “In 1919, the Army set out to show how to drive cross-country,” pointed to national defense as a good reason for federal involvement with our highways. There also is a legitimate interstate commerce rationale for this federal interest. As the trucking industry’s old slogan went, “If you have it, it came by truck.”
States do receive highway funding in amounts uneven to what they contribute to the federal trust fund. But states pool their resources so they can be utilized where needed. Just as rural states, because of their wide expanses of less-traveled roads, may get more for highways than they contribute to the trust fund, urban states get much more for their costly public-transit projects than do those rural states, and reasonably so. We are the United States. Each contributes to help meet the needs of all our states, whether those needs relate to education, public assistance, disaster response or transportation. The federal transportation trust fund should be retained as a conduit of funding for all our states, with revenue increased to reflect our nation’s growing needs.
Paul Schlesinger, Falls Church
The writer is a lobbyist for public entities assisting with their transportation needs.