Sunday, July 19, 2009

An Interesting Funding Source

This is quite fascinating. I always notice the blue highway signs with the gas stations and fast food but I never knew they paid for the privilege. But using that funding to pay for Amtrak is pretty innovative it seems. Any other interesting funding mechanisms out there?


John said...

Innovative? Yes, but I fail to see the logical connection between highway ads for highway-oriented businesses and passenger rail service. I would much rather see them divert general transportation revenue from the gas tax, but apparently that's prohibited by the constitution.

Bob Davis said...

Not sure if it's still there, but I was driving north on US 101 through Santa Maria (CA) and spotted a sign with a "train" symbol and AMTRAK along the bottom. What was amusing was that the "train" symbol had a current collector on top! If you go back about ninety or a hundred years, there WAS a trolley line between Santa Maria and the Southern Pacific main line at Guadalupe (where Amtrak stops now), so maybe a local history buff was getting in a tribute to the old days.
As far as gas tax revenue being used for non-highway purposes, as far as I know, the US Constitution says nothing about this, but the way Congress has written the laws does. If the folks on Capitol Hill thought it would get them more votes in the next election, they'd have re-written the tax code long ago.