THINK ABOUT THIS as you fill out your tax return. The Department of Transportation announcedWednesday that Rodney Slater, the federal highway administrator, "is on an unprecedented, 14-day, 14-state road tour to highlight the vital role of transportation in the U.S. economy."

Most Americans, we suspect, already understand that transportation is important. But Mr. Slater will be spending some of your tax dollars to make sure you don't forget.And what will he be doing on his tour? He'll ride a bike in a Pennsylvania state park, take a spin in a tractor-trailer at an Indiana truck stop, drive a ''smart" car in Michigan and board a bus for a three-hour trip in Texas. He'll also "visit popular tourist attractions that depend on vital transportation links, such as the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and the Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Miss."

Your tax dollars at work.

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