Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Group Supports Registration Fee Usage for Roads

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Group Supports Registration Fee Usage for Roads

Article excerpt

Even with no new revenue sources in sight, Oklahoma's legislators still can increase funding for transportation, a street promotion organization said Monday.

Growth revenue from motor vehicle registrations should be dedicated to the transportation fund, according to an article in the winter 1995 Oklahoma Transportation Quarterly, a publication of the Oklahoma Good Roads and Streets Association.

"Motor vehicle registrations are growing (while) fuel taxes collected by the gallon are declining," said Stephen F. Lalli, the association's executive director. "(Dedicating this growth revenue) is apparently the only route to properly fund our transportation network."

With this statement, the association lines up behind Transportation Secretary Neal McCaleb, who said earlier this year that tapping into this growth fund is absolutely necessary.

"Engines in our cars are getting more fuel efficient," McCaleb said in an earlier interview. "As people drive more, they actually are spending less on fuel.

"It's a good sign that people are driving more, because it means that there's an improvement in our economy and there is a need for more transportation. But at the same time, it wears on our roads, which need to be repaired, and our fuel tax collection is decreasing."

McCaleb could not be reached to comment on the association's stand Monday, but he advocated a similar measure in the earlier interview.

"I was on the transition team (from the Walters to the Keating administration), so I have a good understanding of the bigger picture, especially the budget. Every agency is asking for more money, but it's just not there," McCaleb said at the time.

"About the only transportation-related source of revenue that's showing growth is the motor vehicle user fee, a fee people pay expecting to go to transportation."

His idea, one which is supported by the association, is to cap revenue going to nontransportation entities from this fund and dedicate the growth _ that is, the money in excess of the fiscal year 1994 level _ to transportation. …

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