I was thrilled to receive a flyer about a proposed change to the Illinois constitution, up for voting on November 8, which would restrict taxes and fees obtained from transportation to expenditures on transportation itself
. That is, driver's license fees, state taxes on gas, etc. could only be used for such tasks as road repair, mass transit fleets, supporting the driver's license office, and so forth. Pro and con arguments appear in the article, and you can dig up more on your own. Basically the pros are all aimed at better transportation; the cons are complaining that it restricts government power -- which is the point, because politicians have a nasty habit of robbing the transportation budget to do other things, and then this happens
. A couple other states have enacted policies to keep transportation funds in transportation, with favorable results, so watch for this on your ballots.
If you're wondering how T-America has such a fan-fucking-tastic transportation system, this is a significant part of how. Revenues from the field go right back into the same field, which makes it substantially -- though not wholly -- self-supporting. This means that the people who use the resources are paying for them, and that the more you use it, the better it gets. \o/ This is how they have buses that run every 5 minutes downtown, and several times a day even on the fringes, on time and with lifts. This is how they have dedicated bike lanes separated by curbs and hedges from the car lanes. This is how they can afford, on a day's notice, to put a crew on safety inspection after some yoyo crashes his zoomwagon into an overpass pier, and have the sealant patched and both roads fully operational after a couple days of work.
If you want there to be buses that everyone can actually use, safe bike lanes, and bridges that don't fall down and kill people, you have to pay for that; and this is one of the best ways of doing so. Plus it should create more construction jobs, which mostly benefit able-bodied young men, but that will feed back into the economy; and with a little luck, maybe they'll add some office jobs too. This is exactly the kind of thing I've been telling folks to watch for locally as a way of improving social and material infrastructure. Keep that money in the right budget, and then when you ask your state or your own to do something like upgrade the bus fleet or replace a bridge, they'll be able to afford it.