Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
Past issues
Special issues
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Mail magazine
HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 February 13 - 19  > Stop using gas tax revenue just for construction of more unnecessary roads
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2008 February 13 - 19 [POLITICS]

Stop using gas tax revenue just for construction of more unnecessary roads

February 14, 2008
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The Fukuda Cabinet is intent on going ahead with the construction of highways without releasing the gasoline tax revenue for purposes other than road construction.

The government 10 year plan includes the construction of 14,000 kilometers of highway, which the Koizumi Cabinet said it had withdrawn, thus clinging to the extraordinary plan disregarding whether they meet profitable or whether they are local residents’ needs.

It became known at the House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting on February 12 that the plan includes construction of an additional 7,000 kilometers of highways and six large bridges, including a Kii-Awaji line that connects Wakayama and Hyogo prefectures and a second highway on the Tokyo Bay connecting Tokyo and Chiba.

Even though the existing Tokyo Bay Aqua-line highway has incurred huge losses because traffic is less than expected, the government plans to build another one in parallel with the Aqua-line.

The government also plans to construct “local high-standard highways” in addition to the 14,000 kilometers of highways.

In answer to Japanese Communist Party representative Kokuta Keiji’s question, the director general of the Road Bureau of the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry stated that the plan includes the construction of 186 local high-standard highways for a total of 6,950 kilometers as trunk roads to complement expressways.

Transport Minister Fuyushiba Tetsuzo told Kokuta that the road construction plan will be approved by the cabinet by the end of this year as part of the nation’s land construction project.

The government is thus trying to be so generous as to use the gas tax revenue for the endless construction of more unnecessary roads.

In explaining why the fiscal source exclusively for road construction is needed, the government often cites “local needs”. But in the 59 trillion yen 10-year road plan, only about ten percent will be used to meet immediate local demands, including the construction of school routes, barrier-free roads, and disaster prevention measures.

If the government is to meet local needs, the gas tax revenue should be generalized so that local governments and residents can use the tax money on their own.

Some local governments are calling for the current “temporary higher gas tax rate” to be maintained because the national government recently carried out drastic cuts in grants to local governments.

In order to help to ease local financial difficulties and meet the needs of local residents, the government should use the gas tax revenue for general purposes.
> List of Past issues
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved