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Contra the SubsidyScope story, today's Examiner has a screaming headline: "Big Squeeze on Motorists: Cash-strapped local governments are turning to fees and fines to help boost their bottom lines, but the extra costs are leaving residents feeling squeezed."

I would've liked to see Subsidyscope do a breakdown by level of government.

For example, recent "bailouts" notwithstanding, highway funding at the Federal level has always been 100% covered via user fees. At the state level, it's hit or miss. Some states are 100% (Minnesota being one), while others aren't (like Virginia and their sales tax for transportation). Then you also have the case of user fees at the state level being diverted to non-transportation uses...Texas is one that comes to mind.

The biggest disparity, and the one driving that percentage down the most, is at the local/county level, where it's largely property taxes that are paying for road improvements.

Froggie - Yes, a break down by level of government would be interesting information for a couple of purposes, but wouldn't necessarily be as coherent or interesting as you might suspect. Highway funding at the federal level hasn't "always been 100% covered by user fess," although the highway trust fund is mostly self-financing. (It was out of money this year, necessaitating a "bailout" as you mention.) At the state level, no state funds roads purely through user fees. (I don't know where you're getting your figures for Minnesota, but it spends money out of general funds and local taxes for roads, as do other states.)

Minnesota is my home state, hence why I've been keeping tabs for years on the situation there. The "general funds" is a misnomer, since that was money that originally came from Minnesota's motor vehicle sales tax. Of course local taxes pay for roads, but in Minnesota that's for projects at the local/county level.

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