Club Soda and Salt

No more stains

The cost of bad policy

Posted by clubsodaandsalt on January 20, 2008

Shocking good sense from our new Minister of Trade:

Trade and Industry Minister Dr Keith Rowley says the annual subsidy on automobile fuel prices is now costing the State $2 billion a year.

And he says the time has now come for the Government to consider whether it should be spending this much money subsidising the price of gasoline and diesel.

Rowley, who is my new favourite politician, even makes the argument explicit:

“And, in so far as we have been buying at that price and subsidising local transport to the tune of $2 billion a year, the time has come in this country to ask ourselves if that is the best way to spend $2 billion.

“Subsiding[sic] transportation to the extent that nobody considers fuel cost when you plan a trip to go anywhere in this country,” Rowley said.

And people wonder why we have so much traffic? Here’s a big part of your answer. I can only hope that Rowley’s cabinet colleagues are paying attention.

I should note that we shouldn’t get rid of the subsidy in a vacuum, of course. It is just one part of moving toward a sensible transportation policy. Bear in mind that $2bn (that’s 300MM USD) can really get you a good deal of transit, and that’s where I think the money should go. We’d all be better off, I think. So of course that means that Rowley’s likely to be ignored…

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