Paul Krugman offers us this map showing the breakdown of gas taxes across the country.
This comes in the run-up to his indictment yesterday of New Jersey governor Chris Christie, and his failed (and yet somehow still lauded) economic policy prescriptions. Christie refuses to raise the gas tax (or any taxes for that matter), scrapped plans for a new rail tunnel into New York City, and instead invested state funds in a new megamall and a casino project in Atlantic City. The solution to the economic crisis is not more parking lots, highways, and 6000 mile supply chains, but development of useful public infrastructure and businesses that support the local economy. Also, raising one of the lowest gas taxes in the country by even a few cents seems like a quick way to raise some much-needed cash. I guess that in the new political model, logic need not apply…not that it ever really did.
Also interesting to note from this map that many of the cities most notorious for sprawl, traffic congestion, etc. are in states where the gas tax is in the lower third: Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Phoenix, Atlanta, Oklahoma City, DC, St Louis, Kansas City (though California, and New York are clearly the outliers in this series). It seems like there’s a pretty clear correlation between cheap gas prices and sprawling development patterns based solely on tax rates.