Well, the big disconnect also comes about because government leaders learned LONG ago that any time you offer to do something new, you start talking about tax increases to pay for it. People get to the point where they accept that's "just how it is", so the debate, each time, turns into one of asking if it's worth paying that much MORE out of your paychecks for whatever proposed improvement or benefit is on the table.
In *reality*, government sits on so many resources, we should probably be at the point where the right question to ask is one of redistribution of their existing budget.
As just one example, up here in the DC area right now, there's a big debate raging because the National Park Service wants to start charging a fee to use the C&O canal "towpath". Basically, this is a 70+ mile long stretch of land that runs along the side of the Potomac River that people use for biking, hiking, jogging, etc. Nobody's even really sure how the heck they'd enforce charging a fee to use it -- but the park services people are all gung-ho to do it anyway. The claim is that with Federal budget cuts, they just don't have the funds to maintain the towpath without enacting fees.
But woah! Wait a minute here! If you look over at the Bureau of Land Management, those folks own a HUGE chunk of the entire West Coast of the U.S. right now, claiming it's land they need to care for and manage. How much of a budget do THEY have?! How about letting a little more of THAT land go back to nature, un-managed, and give that money saved to the National Park Service? That's a much more logical move, IMO, than expecting people to pay to bicycle or hike along a dirt path.