Two weeks from today, Oklahoma voters will go to the polls and decide whether to impose a nickel a gallon gasoline tax increase. Diesel users would pay an additional 8 cents a gallon. Both would be spread out over the next four years.

If the relatively few voters on The Transcript's Web poll are any indication of interest, State Question 723 won't draw many voters on Sept. 13. For the record, poll voters are against the measure 60 percent to 40 percent.

Nearly 300,000 Oklahomans signed the petition to put the question to a vote of the people after legislators wouldn't put it there. Proponents say it will cost the average Oklahoman $2.50 per month and will generate $150 million dedicated to the state's roads and bridges.

Legislators have made some headway in recent years and they aren't all deserving of the rap they're getting from the television commercials. Counties are to blame, too, as commissioners have responsibility for many of the narrow rural roads and outdated wooden bridges featured.

The recent spike in gasoline and diesel fuel may doom the question but the $8 billion worth of road and bridge repair will still be there. One Oklahoma newspaper suggested the additional tax wouldn't matter since motorists already pay widely fluctuating prices.

We think it will matter and an extra $30 a year matters to many family budgets. But we also think Oklahoma has neglected its roads and bridges for too long and those same families will be willing to make a sacrifice to fix them.

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