Decline in driving suggests need for new highway funding

The latest data released by the United States Department of Transportation showed the eight month of steady decline in driving by American motorists. That trend, said agency officials, "signals an urgent need" for new highway financing.

The data found that since November 2007, Americans have driven 53.2 billion fewer miles than they did over the same period a year earlier—topping the total decline of 49.3 billion miles in the 1970s.

"We can’t afford to continue pinning our transportation network’s future to the gas tax," said DOT Secretary Mary Peters. "Advances in higher fuel-efficiency vehicles and alternative fuels are making the gas tax an even less-sustainable support for funding roads, bridges, and transit systems.

"It really makes little sense to try to upgrade our infrastructure using a revenue source as ineffective, unsustainable and unpopular as the fuel tax," she said.

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