North Carolina Op-Ed: Users should pay for highways

As a fiscal conservative who thinks government is generally too large and taxes too high, I am grateful for the gas tax.

You should be, too. When Oregon instituted the first state tax on motor fuels in 1919, and North Carolina followed suit two years later, their leaders were solving a longstanding problem. Toll roads had been around for decades but struggled to cover their costs, in part because of rampant toll evasion. With automobile ownership surging — North Carolina registered some 127,000 vehicles in 1920 — state lawmakers could see the practical impossibility of accommodating the new traffic with roads funded by tolling.