TAMPA — The local chapter of the upscale Sierra Club is taking the national Sierra’s crusade to get the peasants to take the bus very seriously. (My observation has been that the decades-long push for mass transportation has been a campaign on the part of one group of people to force another group of people to take the bus, while members of the privileged first group continue to drive their cars.)
In a policy paper released last week, the Tampa Bay Sierra Club called on the Hillsborough County (Tampa) Board of County Commissioners to levy a five cents per gallon gasoline tax on county residents. This to go on top of already heavy taxes on gasoline.
Local Sierra Club executive committee chairman Kent Bailey said his group is calling for higher taxes on gasoline locally because this is consistent with national Sierra’s advocacy of higher gasoline prices in order to reduce driving, thereby reducing vehicle emissions, and to increase the use of mass transit. He says the extra nickel would raise about $25 million a year which should be spent of road maintenance. This would make local roadways smooth, though Bailey doesn’t say so, for the Lexus and Prius caravans that form when Sierra clubbers head for their periodic meetings or to the local organic food stores.
I wouldn’t bet on this one getting through. It’s almost certainly a tax too far for the Republican majority commission that is trying to whoop up support for a half cent local sales tax increase to pay for light rail, a popular transportation delusion of the anti-car crowd, and of the folks who would make a packet off these ghastly expensive projects. Local voters don’t seem keen on the sales tax idea. And the gas tax idea will likely rate a raspberry.