You’ve endorsed Question 6, a bond issue that really irritates me. We are already in debt, $100 million will be borrowed from Maine, $137 million will be borrowed from the federal government and, in the meantime, the federal debt is $19 trillion and growing.

What is wrong with the Maine Legislature that they cannot find other methods to fund our needs for roads and bridges? Here is one simply amazing idea: Pay as we go with gas taxes! (I thank Bangor Daily News blogger Mark W. Anderson for the idea.)

Mainers consume about 500 million gallons of gasoline per year (or 14.3 million barrels, according to The current state tax is 30.01 cents per gallon. Current income from gas taxes is about $150 million per year. If we want to spend $100 million state funds plus $137 million federal, we need to increase the gas tax by 47.4 cents per gallon for one year. Don’t choke yet – there are many ways to pay as we go: Spread the work over two years and impose only an extra 24 cents per gallon for two years. And spread the projects over four years and collect an extra 12 cents per gallon for four years.

What we will save if we pay as we go: The state interest, $33 million and federal interest, $45 million, equals $78 million. In other words, by using bonds, we will pay $315 million for $237 million in work, 33 percent more than the cost of the work, or we can pay as we go, $237 million for $237 million.

We will vote “no” on this bond issue. We challenge the Legislature to find alternatives to spending 33 percent more for any needs in the state.

Brian C. Jones and Sandra J. Jones are residents of Gorham.

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