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Monday, July 28, 2008

Another ripple effect of high gasoline price

WSJ reports: high gas price causes Americans to cut back driving, reducing Federal fuel tax income, which is the financial source to repair and maintain highways and mass-transit systems.
 
A report to be released Monday by the Transportation Department shows that over the past seven months, Americans have reduced their driving by more than 40 billion miles. Because of high gasoline prices, they drove 3.7% fewer miles in May than they did a year earlier, the report says, more than double the 1.8% drop-off seen in April.
 
[Before its collapse last year, the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis was part of the one quarter of the nation's bridges that are considered either 'functionally obsolete' or 'structurally deficient.']
The cutback furthers many U.S. policy goals, such as reducing oil consumption and curbing emissions. But, coupled with a rapid shift away from gas-guzzling vehicles, it also means consumers are paying less in federal fuel taxes, which go largely to help finance highway and mass-transit systems. As a result, many such projects may have to be pared down or eliminated.