Q There has been a lot of talk about the "hidden gas tax" associated with the expansion of cap-and-trade to include gasoline. Years ago you pointed out that gas taxes had not kept up with inflation. Perhaps we are due for an update?

David Pasta

A Here we go.

Q Well? Where do you stand on this one? With the carbon tax that would divert money to high-speed rail and light rail, or with the guy or gal who has to pay the price to get to work in a reasonable amount of time? Well?

Dennis Cole

San Martin

A This will be a political donnybrook. We in California already pay the nation's second-highest gas tax at 68 cents a gallon, and it could jump another 13 to 30 cents in January to pay for a first-in-the-nation climate change law.

Eight years ago the Legislature passed and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill requiring California to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The carbon tax has already raised about $1 billion by requiring manufacturers and utilities to buy credits for each ton of carbon emitted into the atmosphere. At the beginning of next year, the law will also apply to oil and gas. California is the only state to extend the idea to gasoline.


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Where do I stand? Another 10 to 15 cents a gallon is not that big of a deal, though I know many will disagree. We last raised the state gas tax in 1993.

Can we handle an increase? What do you think?

Q I have been in favor of a slow and steady increase in gas taxes. Back in 1983, when prices started to come down, I advocated increasing the gas tax a penny a month indefinitely. Yes, that would mean taxes about $3.70/gallon higher than presently. But it would have been very gradual and something that you could project out for years in advance. We would have much better mass transit, more funds for infrastructure and amazingly efficient cars (perhaps we would mostly have electric cars by now).

It's never too late to start a sensible, slow revolution in our transit infrastructure.

David Pasta

A Revolution might have been the public's response if your plan had been enacted.

Q My husband thinks I'm crazy, but I swear that the stretch of Highway 85 between De Anza Boulevard and Highway 17 makes my car shimmy. Southbound is the worst! Has anyone else reported this, or is my husband's opinion (hopefully not) legitimate?

Joanne Quermann

A Your opinion is legit. Twenty years ago the VTA resurfaced the freeway with diamond grooves to lower noise levels. Tires going over those grooves can cause some cars to "shimmy," as you call it.

Q Do you know why the carpool lanes on I-280 do not extend the full distance from San Jose to San Francisco? That is my husband's daily commute, and the lack of the HOV lane keeps him from carpooling or getting an electric car.

Inge Bond

San Jose

A This is so low on the priority list that it may be decades before it happens.

Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow, follow him at Twitter.com/mrroadshow or contact him at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5335.