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At some point our leaders in Washington will realize that they will actually have to deliver on their promises. Either taxes go up or programs go down.  

It is known as the struggle between the give-away side of government and the take-away side. Trying to have it both ways can't go on forever.  

We certainly have heard plenty of noise from both sides about what must be done. But so far few specifics.  

That's why we welcome a proposal from Delaware's Sen. Tom Carper and Ohio's Sen. George Voinovich to raise the gasoline tax 25 cents to pay for needed road and bridge improvements and to help lower the deficit.  

Don't dismiss the idea too quickly. They suggest the tax go up one cent per month for 25 months. Ten cents of the tax would go to lowering the deficit, about $83 billion over five years. Fifteen cents would go for transportation improvements, about $117 billion over the same period.  

Quibble with the proposal if you like. But at least it is specific and it would get something done.  

Republican Rep. John Mica of Florida, who will head the House Transportation Committee, dismisses the idea. Instead, he said the $300 billion needed to revamp the highway system will be raised by streamlining current spending.  

Mr. Mica is a thoughtful public servant, but what will be cut to get that $300 billion? We don't think Congress has the gumption to do it. Until Mr. Mica has the specifics, we opt for the Carper-Voinovich plan.