Some truth-telling from the editors at the my local paper this morning:
Upon even a little reflection, it’s Pawlenty who has lost touch with the deeper reality. Everyone knows the world market is pushing gasoline prices inexorably higher. The days of cheap gas are over. Gone. Prices of $4 and $5 are on the horizon. Drivers already have paid the equivalent of a nickel gas tax increase many times over — but have received nothing for it! They have enriched the oil companies and helped oil-producing countries abroad. But higher prices at the pump have not purchased them better roads.
The more important part, and the real message that high gas prices deliver, is this: Minnesota needs to start investing in other ways for people to get around — not just poor people, but all people living in metropolitan settings. That means transit. These systems take decades to build. Federal help is available, but not until Minnesota finds a reliable source of local matching money. The bipartisan transportation bill offers a way: Counties could choose to band together in a joint-powers board to pass a local half-cent sales tax increase to, in essence, extend the success of Hiawatha light rail to the rest of the metro region.
Good stuff. I can only hope that the rocket scientists at the legislature can come to an agreement and overcome the veto coming from a lame-duck governor who still shackles himself to an ideologically-motivated “no new taxes” pledge. To me, the promise of a veto on an expensive but necessary appropriation, shows that Governor Pawlenty obviously has his sights set on higher office, since he continues do what’s good for his base and career instead of what’s good for all Minnesotans.