MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Nobody seems to know how this happened, but Memphis has some of the lowest gasoline prices in the country. Hubba-Hubba! Praise the Lord and pass the V-8 engines. Finally something to be proud of when it comes to Memphis, our gasoline is a great deal.
With visions of cheaper gas prices dancing in his head, Memphis City Councilman Ed Ford, Jr. has an idea. He wants to make gasoline more expensive. Just one penny a gallon, he says, that’s all. Nobody will notice it, and it will raise $3 million. He wants that money going to public transportation in order that MATA can expand service, and restore older bus routes. “We have a lot of those routes that have been used by people going to work to support their families,“ Councilman Ford says. “We need to make sure we have the resources for those individuals to help them. We are only talking about one cent.”
A penny is a pain in the posterior for most people. You can’t do much with it. It just sits there, collecting space in your pockets, nothing but a nuisance for the nickels and the dimes and the quarters. But get enough of them, and the penny becomes to cool for school. Since this one penny tax is expected to raise three million bucks, the penny would be the Memphis Homecoming Queen.
Joking aside, there are a lot of people who live in this city who can’t afford a car. Josue Rodriquez is disabled. The only way he can get around in Memphis is by using public transportation. He likes the idea of the penny at the pump tax. “It creates a great impact,” he says, “…in a sense that by improving public transportation, you improve the quality of life.”
Most city council members liked the idea. If bus service improves, not only will it allow people to get around better, it will even get them to the polling places easier on Election Day. There’s always a political side to just about everything in Memphis. City Councilman Jim Strickland, however, says if the plan is supposed to help the poor, a gas tax will also hurt the poor. “The poorest person in Memphis has to pay the exact same amount as the richest person in Memphis,” Strickland said. “I just think that’s fundamentally unfair. It hits the poorest hardest.”
The idea with this tax is to put it on the November ballot, so you folks will have a chance to decide whether you like the idea. City Council member will decide whether it should be on the ballot by the middle of August. They are currently working on a plan that would allow you to vote on whether you want to raise the sales tax as well.