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Old 02-25-2014, 07:30 PM
 
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What about city streets? Just askin'. Or does your last sentence explain that; do cities get some money from the state that they can apply to the streets network?
In my experience - NJ, PA, and a little NY and DE - neighborhood streets are the domain of the municipality they're located in and that money comes mostly from local property taxes.

I'll use Collingswood, NJ as an example https://www.google.com.au/maps/@39.9...75.0709339,15z

Near the center of the map is the intersection of Collings Ave and Haddon Ave. Both of those roads are signed as county routes which makes them eligible for state funding. Also visible on the map are Park Dr., Cuthbert Blvd and Ferry Ave - all of these are also signed county routes.

Most state DOTs use a similar system they just don't sign the routes as aggressively as NJ does
County routes in New Jersey - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

US 130, 30, and NJ 70 all get federal funding.

All of the streets in between rely mostly on local funding but they do get some cash from the state (10-20%) and for the streets that go from one town to another (Park Ave, Bettlewood, etc) these are often unsigned county roads so the municipalities don't have to worry about them.

As an aside - It's nearly impossible to leave one's neighborhood without having to use an unsigned county road at a minimum and that doesn't give you a lot of options in places you can go if you're trying to avoid roads that get direct state and/or federal money.

More to the point, if the state/federal highway funding mechanism wasn't in place there is no way towns or counties could afford to maintain let alone build the kind of roads necessary to handle the volume of traffic that exists . . . and you could argue that the volume of traffic wouldn't exist if not for the funding mechanism that's in place.
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Old 02-25-2014, 10:30 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
32,391 posts, read 59,880,407 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
What about city streets? Just askin'. Or does your last sentence explain that; do cities get some money from the state that they can apply to the streets network?
Every state's funding formulas (formulae? formulii? ) and revenue streams are different. In Ohio, for instance, townships or municipalities can raise roads funds through a voter referendum.
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Old 02-26-2014, 04:10 AM
 
Location: Westwood, MA
3,610 posts, read 4,672,900 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
It's a place holder, a proxy. Most use the freeways. Today the technology exists to abolish it easily. Just put tolling things (FasTrak or similar) on all on-ramps and off-ramps effectively turning all highways/freeways into toll roads. It'd be expensive, but meh. Set the fines appropriate for toll evasion. Say the rate is 2 cent per mile (currently 18 cents a gallon, so this would be a large increase necessary to pay for roads). Set fines appropriately. Say there's a 1% evasion rate, so you make fine based on that. If the average person drives 5,000 miles a year on the freeway you charge them a minimum fine of $10,000. Worth it to risk a $10,000 fine to avoid $100 in fares a year? Probably not. Statistically the fee and the fares are equal, ignoring present value.

Of course, you see the complexity of this for collecting $100/year from a driver that does 5,000 miles a year on the freeway. Maybe it's 10,000 miles and $200/year. Who knows. Sometimes an imperfect proxy is better for simplicity sake. Yes, that means the person who drives ten miles round-trip to church on Sundays gets unfairly taxed. But we're only talking about $5 a year in that case in gas taxes. On the other end is me who probably does 20,000 miles a year on the freeways and 5,000 on local roads. Using the 2 cents a mile, I should be paying $400 but I'm only paying $180. Apples to oranges. 2 cents wasn't supposed to be a revenue-neutral rate, just one that under pretty much any condition would result in more revenue. It'd be revenue neutral if people did all freeway driving at 36 mpg. Most people get less than 36 and no one drives 100% on the freeways.

You could do that today. I'd say it isn't worthwhile. Just raise the gas tax from 18.4 to 22 cents a gallon or so and stop using it for non highway uses. Going to a completely toll road system would just be too complex and the imperfect proxy works better. Same for transit. Most places don't do distance-based pricing because it's too complex. It's not really a user fee. Potentially one could get on a bus, pay the fare, and then realize they got on the wrong bus (I've done that!), someone else could pay the fee to ride 4 blocks, and someone else could ride for 10+ miles for the same fee.

Gas taxes as opposed to use taxes have the additional feature of (slightly) encouraging fuel economy. As oil is still being imported, that's something in the national interest. Use taxes have the negative feature of the government knowing exactly where you've been at all times.

Also, I'm not sure why people want people want highway fees to be use-based to begin. Most other government services don't attempt to equate revenue and use. Imagine if we tried to match corrections spending in such a way, or border protection, or national defense. Roads are a common good and one of the important functions of a collectively-run government.
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Old 02-26-2014, 04:36 AM
 
2,825 posts, read 3,353,316 times
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Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
My issue is really when road space is deemed as something only for cars. It is all technically public space, so we need to share and break it up over all of the potential uses: driving, parking, transit, bikes and pedestrians. Although, I might say parking might be better moved off the road in some cases to free up room for other uses.
Don't sidewalks exclude cars such that sidewalks are "only" for pedestrians?
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Old 02-26-2014, 06:46 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 23 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,016 posts, read 102,649,686 times
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Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
Don't sidewalks exclude cars such that sidewalks are "only" for pedestrians?
Good point! Bikes are also often excluded from sidewalks, e.g. in busy areas. I think we have to be careful about going too far with this "space for everyone" idea.
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Old 02-26-2014, 07:49 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayrandom View Post
Also, I'm not sure why people want people want highway fees to be use-based to begin.
For this reason...

Quote:
It’s not about punishing people, it’s about having them pay (something closer to) the real world costs of what they’re doing
UPDATED: Drivers Cover Just 51 Percent of U.S. Road Spending | Streetsblog USA

While the article claims that drivers pay for just 51 percent of road spending, it goes on to state the following:

Quote:
Meanwhile, transit fares cover 21 percent of costs nationwide, indicating that the difference in subsidies for roads and transit is not as great as it’s often made out to be. (Though in absolute terms, there is a big difference: The total subsidy for roads dwarfs the total subsidy for transit.)
If the goal here is simply to shoot down the ridiculously stupid argument that "roads totally and completely pay for themselves," then I suppose the author has succeeded. But if it's an argument about equitability, then I don't see what the argument is at all, considering that transit is more dependent on subsidies than highways, and also relies on funding generated from fuel taxes.

Asking why the total subsidy for roads dwarfs the total subsidy for transit is like asking why total spending for high school football dwarfs that of girl's lacrosse. The difference in scale between the two is so vast that there's no way any reasonable person should expect the funding levels to be close to being equal.

So if transit advocates simply want to argue that transit needs and deserves more subsidies, then that's one thing. But I don't think you really need to attack cars to make that argument.
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Old 02-26-2014, 08:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
For this reason...

UPDATED: Drivers Cover Just 51 Percent of U.S. Road Spending | Streetsblog USA

While the article claims that drivers pay for just 51 percent of road spending, it goes on to state the following:

If the goal here is simply to shoot down the ridiculously stupid argument that "roads totally and completely pay for themselves," then I suppose the author has succeeded. But if it's an argument about equitability, then I don't see what the argument is at all, considering that transit is more dependent on subsidies than highways, and also relies on funding generated from fuel taxes.
First, I don't buy the 21% number for mass transit. Every transit system I've seen outside a few cities like NYC and Chicago covers closer to 15%. Also, that only concerns operating costs, not capital infrastructure costs.

Second, if drivers are only covering 51% of roads, who is covering the rest? Non-drivers? Seriously?
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Old 02-26-2014, 08:18 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,266 posts, read 26,263,727 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oceangaia View Post
First, I don't buy the 21% number for mass transit. Every transit system I've seen outside a few cities like NYC and Chicago covers closer to 15%. Also, that only concerns operating costs, not capital infrastructure costs.
I didn't put any effort into confirming her numbers. Since it's Streetsblog, I'm going to assume that she used the stingiest number for cars she could find and the most generous number for transit she could find. You can't rely on people on either side of this debate to be forthright. That said, her numbers don't put transit in the best light vis--vis cars/roads/drivers.
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Old 02-26-2014, 08:57 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,692,971 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
Don't sidewalks exclude cars such that sidewalks are "only" for pedestrians?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Good point! Bikes are also often excluded from sidewalks, e.g. in busy areas. I think we have to be careful about going too far with this "space for everyone" idea.
I think it is a little grey. In some places the sidewalk is owned by the property owner end in other places it is considered to Fe owned by the city. But expanding sidewalks means losing road space so I kinda like to put them in the same bucket. But it depends on how your municipality works.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceangaia View Post
First, I don't buy the 21% number for mass transit. Every transit system I've seen outside a few cities like NYC and Chicago covers closer to 15%. Also, that only concerns operating costs, not capital infrastructure costs.

Second, if drivers are only covering 51% of roads, who is covering the rest? Non-drivers? Seriously?
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
I didn't put any effort into confirming her numbers. Since it's Streetsblog, I'm going to assume that she used the stingiest number for cars she could find and the most generous number for transit she could find. You can't rely on people on either side of this debate to be forthright. That said, her numbers don't put transit in the best light vis--vis cars/roads/drivers.
Those fare box recovery rates seem unusually low. In my region, BART fare is revo re us about 65%, SF muni and AC transit are around 50%. And the worst suburban systems are in the 30s. Where are these 15% places?
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Old 02-26-2014, 09:00 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
45,989 posts, read 42,008,719 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oceangaia View Post
First, I don't buy the 21% number for mass transit. Every transit system I've seen outside a few cities like NYC and Chicago covers closer to 15%. Also, that only concerns operating costs, not capital infrastructure costs.
The only transit agency that have a 15% farebox recovery are small city ones with really low ridership, and low spending. The bulk of transit use and spending is in a handful of large cities. Small transit agencies have a higher transit subsidy per rider, but they don't spend that much on transit per resident. Some of these numbers might old or off:

Farebox recovery ratio - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

LIRR is given as 54% from this site, the Washington Metro 68%, BART 67%.

Among heavy rail systems, the average farebox recovery ratio is 46.4%, and systems range from 20.2% (Baltimore Metro) to 76.6% (New York City Subway). The range for light rail systems is between 12.0% (Dallas) and 57.4% (San Diego), with an average of 29.6%. Commuter rail averages 33.3% and ranges from 6.2% (Portland WES) to 62.3% (Metro-North).

Buses lower the average of the NYC MTA. Some other sources:

Cap'n Transit Rides Again: The 2008 farebox numbers

This link claims 41% farebox recovery is the nation-wide average:

Cap'n Transit Rides Again: More on the XBL and profitability
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