The gas tax is just about the most regressive tax that exists in a place like Maryland, where living in a safe community with good schools means one must live in the suburbs ("Va. takes the lead," Jan. 10).

Taxing the gasoline that people need to work, to acquire higher education, to seek medical care and to buy food makes as much sense — i.e. none — as paying for:

•K-12 education by charging parents tuition equal to the cost per child, with higher fees for parents of special needs children since they are so much more expensive to educate than other children;

•Police services by charging a fee to each victim of an accident or crime;

•Firefighting by charging a fee per fire or accident or per life saved;

•Snow removal by charging property owners a fee per foot of property frontage;

Paying for highways and supporting public transportation with a gas tax makes no more sense than funding other essential public services through user fees.

It is grossly unfair to the poor, the unemployed and to middle income citizens who are least able to pay it and who are most likely to be deterred from seeking better employment and higher education because of the added cost.

The proposal of the Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell to eliminate the gas tax shows a genuine recognition of how fundamental gasoline is to life in America. Maryland would do well to eliminate the gas tax and fund transportation with an income or capital gains tax increase instead.

Anita Heygster, Pasadena

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