Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas) today called for increasing both the state and federal gas tax, citing a lack of transportation funds. Yet 43% of the state gas tax is being diverted to non-transportation items and an increasing share of federal gas tax revenues are going to rail schemes that move few people for big bucks and even recreational paths.

For example, the obscene 2005 federal highway bill diverted more than $20 billion in federal gas-tax dollars to 6,373 pork-barrel earmarks — including the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere,” pedestrian and bike trails, and new park signs.

New roads and maintaining existing roads is a legitimate priority, but before raising the gas tax, politicians should stop pumping the well dry. Here is the Statesman piece on Johnson’s comments: