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Old 02-24-2014, 10:28 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 2nd trick op View Post
And although Long Island, for example, has an extensive suburban rail system, running freight through the passenger tunnel under Manhattan, while no more risky with regard to hazardous materials, etc, could disrupt a key link in our infrastructure -- possibly for a long time. A very small number of freight cars are shipped to long Island, Brooklyn and Queens via the one remaining car-float operation (New York Cross Harbor Railway) or by a connection through the Bronx, but most high-value freight (in containers) goes to large "intermodal terminals" in North Jersey, and is trucked across the Hudson.
Yes, there's not much freight left on Long Island due to geography and the choices of the LIRR, which isn't interested in having much freight go on the railroad.
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Old 02-25-2014, 06:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
Gas taxes pay for about half. The rest is general revenues. In our State video gambling pays a large share. Do heavy gamblers drive more? Police patrols seldom pay their own way, despite the fact everyone complains about traffic tickets. I suppose you can argue the subsidies are worth it for economic development, just as mall owners subsidize their parking because it brings business.
Yeah, that article has been pretty well debunked by multiple sources in the decade since it was initially written.

There is no form of transportation that isn't subsidized. Every empire going back at least to the Persians understood the importance of a well funded and well protected trade network of roads and shipping lanes.

Even the ships of the great colonial era trading companies (Dutch East India, Hudson Bay, etc) only became profitable after heavy initial subsidy and, of course, what some might call "profit" most others would call plunder.

A "full cost" accounting on all road users (from fuel to automakers to insurance to the roads themselves) would create a cycle of dwindling road users and dwindling funds. I certainly think that some of our highway infrastructure is overbuilt and maybe even some of our inland waterways but so far as our interstate system, airport system, and joke of a passenger rail system connect the country that's generally a good thing.
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Old 02-25-2014, 07:09 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
I don't know. I think local roads are a "greater public good" like transit, street signs, sidewalks, bike lanes and libraries. So everyone should contribute to upkeep, maintenance etc. Even if I don't use all of the city (or regional services) I should pay for them. I can't pick and choose to only pay for the ones I like.
Only transit is not truly a public good like the other things you mentioned. I can come to Oakland and drive on your streets, walk on your sidewalks, and ride in your bike lanes without contributing a single dime to their construction or maintenance. You can't exclude me from those things. Not so with BART. I only get to use it if I pay for it. If I jump a turnstile, I'll likely get a visit from the transit police (and hopefully not end up like Oscar Grant).
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Old 02-25-2014, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
It often comes up in the light of people pretending that suburbs had some massive subsidy because highways linked them to cities, which as the article points out is false even today. While it's true that highways now are subsidized by non-user fees, even after adjusting for the siphoning off of gas tax funds to subsidize mass transit and pay down the deficit, that is a fairly recent development as they've failed to increase gas taxes to keep up with inflation.
One argument is that gas taxes aren't really "user fees." If I only use local roads, or simply fill my tank up and then park my car in the garage for a month, how am I using the highways? So in effect the gas tax is not really a user fee, but rather a subsidy not all too different from the subsidies higways receive from the general treasury.
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:03 AM
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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Until this forum, I always assumed gas taxes were just a tax not a user fee or meant specifically for highways. I remember a couple years ago the state legislature had a debate whether to raise the sales tax or gas tax to make up for budget revenue. Any tranpsortation-specific funding wasn't discussed, it was just general funds.

I don't think anymore states or the federal government ever attempt to match road costs or even just general transportation costs to the gas tax revenue, it's just general funds.
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
There is no form of transportation that isn't subsidized.
How does one define "subsidy"? To me, it means that it is being supported by people who do not directly benefit from it. Who is this large group of people that doesn't directly benefit from roads? Please don't tell me about the 0.5% getting by in life on a bicycle.

Everyone can't subsidize everyone. If nearly everyone is using the roads (driver or passenger), the fact that it is paid in various ways (property taxes, sales taxes, fuel taxes) is a matter of cost sharing not subsidy. Many states are starting to consider a mileage based system to fund roads. That would seem fairer to me as long as there are different rates for different vehicle weight classes.
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
One argument is that gas taxes aren't really "user fees." If I only use local roads, or simply fill my tank up and then park my car in the garage for a month, how am I using the highways? So in effect the gas tax is not really a user fee, but rather a subsidy not all too different from the subsidies higways receive from the general treasury.
Back in the day I used to do HPMS number crunching and there really aren't many "local" roads that aren't part of the national network or at least a state network.

In PA anyway, the state distributes a portion of the gas tax to municipalities along with other DMV related charges.
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:18 AM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,957,397 times
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Originally Posted by oceangaia View Post
How does one define "subsidy"? To me, it means that it is being supported by people who do not directly benefit from it. Who is this large group of people that doesn't directly benefit from roads? Please don't tell me about the 0.5% getting by in life on a bicycle.

Everyone can't subsidize everyone. If nearly everyone is using the roads (driver or passenger), the fact that it is paid in various ways (property taxes, sales taxes, fuel taxes) is a matter of cost sharing not subsidy. Many states are starting to consider a mileage based system to fund roads. That would seem fairer to me as long as there are different rates for different vehicle weight classes.


You found a way to agree with me while still making it sound like I said something to the contrary.

In any case, well said.
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:40 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
45,989 posts, read 42,008,719 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
Back in the day I used to do HPMS number crunching and there really aren't many "local" roads that aren't part of the national network or at least a state network.

In PA anyway, the state distributes a portion of the gas tax to municipalities along with other DMV related charges.
I doubt most rural New England muncipalities could afford to mantain their roads without state funds, though I'd have to check the data. Here's some:

The Walking Bostonian: Road subsidies across Massachusetts

Yep, rural communities get the most state aid in road funding, some by a huge amounts. The denser towns and cities surrounding Boston get the least. The funding formula is based on miles of existing road, which would inevitabily favor less dense and especially rural communities. The formula was written by the "Legislative Rural Cacus".
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Old 02-25-2014, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,266 posts, read 26,263,727 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Until this forum, I always assumed gas taxes were just a tax not a user fee or meant specifically for highways. I remember a couple years ago the state legislature had a debate whether to raise the sales tax or gas tax to make up for budget revenue. Any tranpsortation-specific funding wasn't discussed, it was just general funds.
Do you mean gas taxes levied by states?
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