October 25, 1997 in City

Here’s A Tax That’s Fair And Necessary

By The Spokesman-Review

If only there were some magic way to repair Spokane County’s blighted roads, widen the streets jam-packed with cars and build some new roads to relieve traffic.

If only there were some way to ignore these realities:

140 percent more cars travel along the Spokane Valley’s Sullivan Road than did 14 years ago.

103 percent more cars motor down Country Homes Boulevard on Spokane’s North Side.

If only the feds and the state would kick in more money to repair our roads.

If only consumers would quit buying those big honkin’ cars and ride the bus more, carpool, walk, bike to work.

Unfortunately, “if onlys” won’t fix our embarrassing roads. The best solution for now is coughing up 2.3 cents more per gallon on vehicle motor fuel.

On Nov. 4, voters will decide the fate of a local option gas tax.

We recommend that the voters say yes. It’s an additional tax, and no one likes new taxes. However, the proposal will raise $4.7 million annually to be used only for road and street repair in Spokane County. About $900,000 of the money will be used to match state and federal finds for new roads, additional lanes and bike pathways.

The tax will be collected for five years. Voters will then decide whether to extend it.

Remember, the county includes the city of Spokane, Cheney, Medical Lake, Airway Heights, Deer Park, Millwood, Fairfield, Rockford, Spangle, Latah and Waverly. All of these communities have road improvement needs and with more revenue, those needs can be addressed.

This gas tax is a fairer way to pay for roads than the property tax proposed (and defeated) a year ago. Only motorists pay this tax. The more they drive and the heavier and less efficient their vehicles, the more they pay.

Think of streets as the circulatory system of the community. If the circulatory system is healthy, if the roads are pothole-free, wide enough and safe enough to accommodate cars and bikes, the community is better off.

Keeping your own circulatory system in working order, by eating right and exercising, takes discipline. The gas tax is the discipline necessary to keep Spokane County’s roads safe and drivable.

, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, ENDORSEMENT, COLUMN - Our View CREDIT = Rebecca Nappi/For the editorial board

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