I attended a public hearing in Richmond tonight concerning the Wheel Tax the Wayne County Commissioners want to impose. It seems that since cars are getting better mileage and people are driving less, the county doesn’t have enough money to properly maintain the roads.
I can understand how that might be a problem.
Apparently the Wayne County Highway Department budget is $3.2 million for this year. The highway department and the commissioners say that isn’t enough. I don’t know if it is or not.
I do know that there are about 68,000 people in Wayne County. I’m guessing that about 41,300 of them drive. I’m also guessing that each driver probably averages using about 15 gallons of gasoline a week. Like I said, I’m just guessing.
If those guesses are anyways close to being right, that means Wayne County drivers buy about 32,214,000 gallons of gasoline each year. We pay 52 cents in road use taxes for every gallon we buy. That totals up to about $16,751,280.00 per year. That doesn’t include the 28 cents in sales tax we’re paying on every gallon also.
You would think they could find $3.2 million somewhere in that amount. I guess not.
The state and federal government gets the lions share of our road use taxes, and they spend them on a lot of projects that don’t involve roads.
Before the local government starts demanding more road use taxes from us, we need to demand that all levels of government spend the money they have already taken from us for its intended purpose.
It wouldn’t hurt if our local officials started demanding that too.
(Written May 4, 2011. Rex Bell is the Wayne County Chairman.)