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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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(Tribune file photo) by Anna Kartashova Jay Medeiros of Kiewit/Clyde Joint Venture construction company, did groundwork last summer for a bridge in American Fork, one of 55 that will be replaced or restored as part of the Utah Department of Transportation's expansion of Interstate 15 in Utah County.
Editorials: Paying for highways

- Paying for roads: Raising state fuel tax is fair - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

The state fuel tax should be called a user fee, because that’s really what it is, and what it was meant to be. Those who spend the most on fuel pay the most, because they are putting the most wear and tear on the roads. The tax funds road construction and maintenance, with a portion going to cities and counties.

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The concept of fuel tax as user fee, however, is hitting a snag because, as the cost of gasoline rises, people are buying more fuel-efficient vehicles and driving less. Those are positive outcomes, because they make the air we breathe less toxic. But less money spent on fuel also means less revenue from the fuel tax, and the Utah transportation fund is feeling the pinch, a $27 billion expected shortfall over the next 30 years. [Read the rest ...]

- One Republican who's not afraid of raising taxes - Sid Salter, for The (Pascagoula) Mississippi Press

While most members of his party run like scalded dogs from the mere mention of anything resembling a tax hike, Republican Central District Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall is loudly calling for an increase in the state's gasoline tax.

Has Hall taken leave of his partisan political senses?

No. He's simply continuing to beat the drum for a solution to a legitimate state gas tax problem that he's been calling attention to for well over a decade. ...

- We hope governor’s right — lawmakers may raise fuel taxes - Mason City (Iowa) Globe Gazette Editorial

Meanwhile, does this strike a familiar note?

- Open road - Las Vegas Review-Journal Editorial

The federal government inexplicably controls more than 85 percent of the land within Nevada's boundaries....... Restrictions on recreational uses of federal land have multiplied exponentially in recent decades. In areas around the state, miles and miles of land and roads that locals once regularly used and frequented have been declared off limits. ...... this conflict will be solved only when Nevada regains control over the vast majority of its own territory, now managed from far-away Washington, D.C.

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