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Recently attention has been focused on the federal gas tax and the necessity of having that tax. The truth is that there no longer a need for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) whose current chief function is to pass tax money collected from the taxpayers back to the various state highway departments. The federal gas tax should be eliminated and leave it up to the states to increase state taxes enough to make up the difference. This would reduce the federal budget by some $40 billion and reduce the size of one federal agency. The feds would no longer be able to threaten the loss of highway dollars because of some non-highway violation such as too much dust somewhere. FHWA would become a minor agency within the U.S. Dept. of Transportation overseeing some necessary small programs.
The FHWA provided a needed service in the early days of highway history developing standards, leading research and coordinating activities of the various state highway departments, up to the completion of the interstate system. Since then, its primary responsibility has been to pass money back to taxpayers from whom it was collected. State departments of transportation are professional, well-staffed and able to take care of their programs. This waste of money needs to be stopped.