The gas tax itself is a little over $500 million. When you add in all these other fees that are related to highway usage, you get up to a total annually of about $1.1 billion. We also charge sales tax on gasoline, which yields another $500 million; that gets state revenues to be used for INDOT and highway funding up to $1.6 billion.
Then you add to that whatever we get from the federal gas tax and the federal allocation. Now in recent years . . . the revenues on the gas tax both for the sate and federal government has been falling a little bit because of fuel efficiency and so the feds have actually funded some of their highway fund distributions out of some reserves that have been established through prior usage on the highways, so it gets a little fuzzy . . . but even transfers from the general fund are actually from highway user fee-related reserves.
I think the point is, in the big picture, that virtually all the capital costs of the infrastructure improvements and the annual maintenance of the highways is paid for by user fees. In the case of mass transit, even under the plan presented by CIRTA, zero percent of the capital infrastructure costs will be paid by user fee. In other words, you'll never pay that off; you just have to take it from some other revenue source.
Across the nation, the direct fare box only generates 16 percent of the operating cost for the mass transit system. So you have a huge subsidy by percentile of any mass transit system, whereas even if you think you can find some subsidy for the highways, it's a very, very small percentage and it may not even exist.As the Indy Connect folks stage public hearings with paid actors that are being presented by the media as legitimate citizens clamoring for more mass transit, yet another scandal is threatening to claim another member of Chicago's suburban rail transit system's board. In recent weeks, at least four board members have resigned from Metra's board over news reports of cronyism run amok. There's now pressure on a fifth board member to resign after news reports surfaced that he lives in a luxury million dollar downtown condo instead of the suburbs where he claimed he lived when he was appointed to the board. State law allows only one member of the board to be from Chicago. The rest must live in the suburbs. Stanley Rakestraw claims that he thought he could live anywhere in Cook County when he was appointed to the board earlier this year, even though he listed a home that burned down two years ago in Flossmoor as his residence on his ethics statement. If the residency issue didn't disqualify him from serving on the board, his business should have. According to the Tribune, his business relies on Pace and Metra for its existence:
Rakestraw is co-founder, vice president and chief operating officer of SCR Medical Transportation. The Tribune also determined Wednesday that Rakestraw's company provides paratransit services for Pace and a shuttle service that transports disabled Metra patrons from nonaccessible stations. The shuttle service, and Rakestraw's company's name, is listed on Metra's website.Indy's multi-billion dollar mass transit boondoggle is being driven entirely by the Rakestraw types who are already divvying up the contracts they expect to flow once they succeed in getting a dedicated stream of tax revenues flowing into fund an unelected, totally unaccountable governmental entity. CIRTA's long-time executive director has already joined a private mass transit solutions provider that hopes to win contracts from the metropolitan mass transit system. They could care less about whether there is any need for the mass transit system they are proposing.