Robert Krol for the Manhattan Institute: Congested highways are a fact of life in most cities. Politicians in Washington agree that if we want to improve our ground transportation system, we need to spend more on infrastructure. They seem to think we can build our way to free-flowing urban highways.

Much of the debate has centered on how to finance the additional spending. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Trucking Association support raising the federal gasoline tax. Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., have suggested using a portion of corporate tax revenues to fund highway construction.

Raising the federal gasoline tax or using corporate tax revenues will not solve our highway congestion problems.

Given that most highways in the United States are toll free, overuse is to be expected. The only way we can determine whether or not we need to build more highways is to charge drivers who travel during peak hours. These charges or prices reflect the value drivers place on using the highway. These pricing signals can then be used to determine whether it makes economic sense to build more highway capacity. When the value drivers place on using a highway exceeds the cost of additional lanes, more lanes should be built ...

Congress could pass legislation that allows states to charge congestion tolls on all interstate highways, and these revenues could be used to reduce fuel taxes, lowering the burden this new tax would impose on drivers. Or the revenues could be used for highway maintenance and construction. Most importantly, by pricing roads correctly, we may actually find that we don't need to spend more on highways.

Racial diversity enriches a college education

Kristin Tsuo for the Century Foundation: The Supreme Court's recent decision to hear Fisher v. University of Texas for a second time has reignited fears that affirmative action might be coming to an end. Supporters of race-conscious admission policies are preparing themselves for the worst— the destruction, in their eyes, of one of the main conduits for social mobility in the United States …

The importance of campus diversity is a mainstream narrative among most institutions of higher education, yet the reasoning behind this importance remains largely understated or unconvincing outside of the world of academia. Instead, any changes that would potentially decrease campus diversity, such as those raised by the Supreme Court case in question, are often argued against in the name of social justice and fairness for underrepresented groups. Likewise, universities with more homogeneous student bodies are criticized for providing fewer opportunities for social mobility. While these are highly important aspects of campus diversity, we should not forget the seemingly obvious, yet rather complex, role of diversity in producing positive educational outcomes for students of all races and backgrounds.

Diversity in higher education is often framed in three ways: structural diversity, or the composition of the student body; classroom diversity, or curricula about and interactions between diverse people in the classroom; and informal interactional diversity, or the interactions among students of different backgrounds outside the classroom. A seminal study published in 2002, which first laid out the above framework, found that informal interactions with peers of other racial groups significantly enhanced an individual's learning outcomes. That is, it improved intellectual engagement, self-motivation, citizenship and cultural engagement, and academic skills like critical thinking, problem solving, and writing — for students of all races. In other words, interacting with diverse peers outside a classroom setting directly benefits students, making them better scholars, thinkers and citizens.

Internet voting susceptible to cyber-attack

Hans A. von Spakovsky for the Heritage Foundation: Those who believe that "voting online is the future" or that it is "possible given current technology" to create a secure online voting system are dangerously mistaken. According to computer experts, Internet voting is vulnerable to cyber-attack and fraud—vulnerabilities inherent in current hardware and software, as well as the basic manner in which the Internet is organized. It is unlikely that these vulnerabilities will be eliminated at any time in the near future.

State legislators and secretaries of state who are considering implementing Internet voting, or even the delivery by e-mail of voted ballots from registered voters, should reconsider such measures. These programs would be vulnerable to a variety of well-known cyber-attacks, any of which could be catastrophic. Such attacks could be "launched by anyone from a disaffected lone individual to a well-financed enemy agency outside the reach of U.S. law."

They also "could result in large-scale, selective voter disenfranchisement," privacy violations, vote buying and selling, and vote switching "even to the extent of reversing the outcome of many elections at once…." The biggest danger, however, is that such attacks "could succeed and yet go completely undetected."

Compiled by Nathan Rubbelke from think tank research