The Case for State Fuel Taxes to Support "Transit Operating Assistance"
"Non-user" taxes like "user-taxes" can work to promote job growth where needed most, such as in the city of Detroit. Statistics show its Oakland County that will benefit from the $530 million I-75 freeway expansion. If "Non-user" taxes/development fees are raised by Oakland County to pay for half the cost to build I-75, then MDOT can support the operating costs of "The Plan..." for 12 - 15 years. This solution gives those who want this freeway a viable choice, as the taxes/fees are compensated by increased property values and more jobs along the freeway. In return, "The Plan..." will complement the freeway and county with fast efficient 24/7 direct SMART bus services to metro airport and downtown Detroit. This solution redistributes funds to serve the public equally. Combinations of different tax mechanisms are best to reward efficient and socially responsible uses of the transportation system. Since the tax on State fuel is the Holy Grail of transportation finance due to its necessity, "The Plan..." proposes that all handicapped and disabled people keep this tax mechanism in place to support them. This is considered fair by virtually everyone as this tax is largely based on one's ability to pay.
"The Plan..." lowers both local and state tax burdens by concentrating more people to use fewer roads, sewers and other government services. Since this will require more State CTF funds, a large number of cost cutting measures are used as described in the presentation. The population of Detroit and inner ring suburbs has lost many residents since 1990 resulting in the loss of millions of dollars in local taxes and jobs. This presents many challenges to mass transit providers to maintain bus service in accordance with federal disability laws. "The Plan..." not just re-evaluates counter-productive growth patterns but takes fast and flexible action by using the proven logistics of the state fuel tax to enable faster growth where sewers and roads already exist thus increasing state tax revenues in the future.