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Old 02-18-2014, 12:32 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post

This reminds me of a trip we took to Canada once. Gas was about twice as expensive as in the US at the time. At one point I said to my husband, "what do they use this gas tax money for? Certainly not a road system". He replied, "I think it all goes into the general socialism budget".
I think origionally when European countries implemented a gas tax, most people didn't own cars, and cars were considered more of a luxury (which is why diesel is taxed somewhat lower as it's needed for goods transportation). Once a tax is there, it's hard to remove.

The gas tax was never meant as a road-specific tax anymore than a sales tax is.
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Old 02-18-2014, 12:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
As opposed to most transit agencies, which are often times 80 or 90% subsidized.
Unsubsidized transit is hard to make it work when consumers have the choice of taking heavily subsidized highways.

For example, here in Georgia user fees (gas tax & tolls) only cover ~25% of the roads (the rest comes from property / income taxes) compare that to MARTA (which gets 0 state funding) which has a fare box recovery ratio of 31.8%.

I say make both 100% user funded and see which users choose. I think the answer is more transit. Private transit used to flourish here in the US before the highway subsidies rolled in and they still flourish over seas: MTR Corporation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 02-18-2014, 12:34 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
In 1950, the UK's population density was 538 ppsm.

Rhode Island's was 641 ppsm.

Connecticut's was 361 ppsm.

New Jersey's was 557 ppsm.

Maryland's was 191 ppsm. That was lower than East and West Germany's combined 508 ppsm.
But New Jersey's development has more auto-oriented than British development. Perhaps there was less incentive to preserve New Jersey farmland since there was plenty elsewhere while the UK wanted to preserve as much as farmland as possible to keep it somewhat food sufficient, but I suspect overall density is overstated as a factor.

Spain is much less dense than the UK. However, its cities are far denser.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
But no numbers are given for the European countries. Of course, they didn't have to. People will believe it, numbers or not.
About half of the price of gas in a European country is from taxes. Unless roads are incredibly expensive in Europe, there's no way all the gas taxes cover only road (or even overall transportation) spending, so the "more" should be true.
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Old 02-18-2014, 12:38 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Once a tax is there, it's hard to remove.
Isn't it usually the other way around? If countries voted to reduce their gas taxes, I'm not sure if anyone would necessarily be crying over it.

I think Europe has no choice but to tax gas at higher rates because they don't have the same "friendly" (read: coerced) relationships with OPEC nations that the U.S. does.
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Old 02-18-2014, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
But New Jersey's development has more auto-oriented than British development.
But the UK is 11 times larger in land area than New Jersey. That's sort of my point. If you could take the densest 8,700 sq. miles of the UK (that's roughly the size of NJ), there would be nowhere in the United States that could possibly come close to that in density.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Spain is much less dense than the UK. However, its cities are far denser.
I'm not saying there's a 1:1 correlation between country density and city density. I'm saying that we need to take into account the overall density of Europe and the U.S. when talking about their respective development patterns. Europe as a whole was far denser than the U.S. in 1950. Why would anyone expect development patterns to be similar in the U.S. when it had millions and millions of square miles sitting largely uninhabited?
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Old 02-18-2014, 01:02 PM
 
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The thing is, that public transportation is not even available in a large part of the country. We drive 50 miles each way to go shopping. Due to the lack of people, public transportation is out for all but for a very few small city systems. Our biggest city Billings, is only 100,000 people. There are only 1,000,000 people in our whole state which is 4th largest in U.S. There are more cattle than people in the state.

Remember, we have states bigger than entire European Counties. Public transportation is not an option for most of the country. It is only good where there is large populations. Over 50% of the population lives within 50 miles of an ocean. But the country is 3,000 miles across.
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Old 02-18-2014, 01:04 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Look at it this way...if England decided to build a whole bunch of little Metro Atlantas and Houstons all over the place, how much land would be left over for agriculture, national parks, forests, military bases, etc?

The Atlanta MSA is 8,376 sq. miles. The Houston MSA is 10,062 sq. miles. Those two MSAs combined would eat up a whopping 20 percent of the entire United Kingdom.

Having a large population with far less land makes you much more sensitive to the way you're using land.
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Old 02-18-2014, 01:11 PM
gg
 
Location: Pittsburgh
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Cool article. Wish we rode bikes and walked more. Less pollution, better health (reduce diabetes and more) and just a better life. Never see happy people driving cars/suvs. They always looks stressed and miserable.
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Old 02-18-2014, 01:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Look at it this way...if England decided to build a whole bunch of little Metro Atlantas and Houstons all over the place, how much land would be left over for agriculture, national parks, forests, military bases, etc?

The Atlanta MSA is 8,376 sq. miles. The Houston MSA is 10,062 sq. miles. Those two MSAs combined would eat up a whopping 20 percent of the entire United Kingdom.

Having a large population with far less land makes you much more sensitive to the way you're using land.
Lack of density is a result of highway subsidies (and other things in the article), not a reason to continue them. Who would pay higher rent to live near work when you could drive five more miles down the highway for almost free? Now if you had to pay a $10 toll or extra gas tax a day you might reconsider how economical that $100 less in rent really is.
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Old 02-18-2014, 01:35 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 24 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsvh View Post
Lack of density is a result of highway subsidies (and other things in the article), not a reason to continue them. Who would pay higher rent to live near work when you could drive five more miles down the highway for almost free? Now if you had to pay a $10 toll or extra gas tax a day you might reconsider how economical that $100 less in rent really is.
No, lack of density is not just the result of highway subsidies, as many urbanists seem to believe.
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