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Old 02-26-2014, 12:52 PM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I think you're looking at it backwards. If the fare box recovery increased to 51%, the subsidy would be lowered. The subsidy would be 49%. With 21% recovery, the subsidy is 79%. And keep in mind that's only direct costs (usually).
My assertion is that, if spending on public transit was increased, it would become more useful to more people, and more people would choose to use public transit. If more people take public transit, then fare box revenue increases. So, that's where my previous question came from. (I guess it's actually a rhetorical question)
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Old 02-26-2014, 01:04 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,269 posts, read 26,269,309 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
My assertion is that, if spending on public transit was increased, it would become more useful to more people, and more people would choose to use public transit. If more people take public transit, then fare box revenue increases. So, that's where my previous question came from. (I guess it's actually a rhetorical question)
I think the biggest obstacle you face is that employment in many metro areas is still decentralizing. My brother and sister-in-law, for example, live 99% of their entire lives outside of the Atlanta Perimeter (I-285). It's virtually impossible to connect their work, shopping, schools (for my niece and nephew), etc. by public transit. So even if you built all of this new transit, a whole lot of people would just drive all around it. Transit needs to (1) take you where you need to go and (2) do it either faster or cheaper than driving. If it can't do that, then it doesn't stand a chance.
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Old 02-26-2014, 06:52 PM
 
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Not only doesn't the gas tax cover the cost of roads, but some gasoline isn't even used on roads. Lawnmower and snowblower owners: stand up for your rights. Years ago you could get a tax credit for nonhighway use of gasoline, no more.
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Old 02-26-2014, 06:58 PM
 
12,309 posts, read 15,212,168 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
There are a lot of transit systems just like there are a lot of roads. While New York, SF and Chicago may be very large for individual cities, they only account for so much of the population that lives in urban areas. After you've added up all of the Milwaukees, Nashvilles, Corpus Christis, and Kalamazoos of America, you get a pretty large population. And those cities have transit too. It's just that urbanists generally equate "transit" with cities that have rail.
I have always stated that New York hogs the nation's transit. Incidentally, Nashville does have oe commuter rail line. At one time only New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington metro area had rail. Not even L.A! Slowly, other metros are getting it. Sure, the big ones (Dallas-Ft Worth, Houston, Miami) but even some smaller markets. Orlando is expected to start this year. Honolulu in a few.
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Old 03-01-2014, 10:15 AM
 
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It's notoriously (and likely intentionally) difficult to figure out the net subsidy for drivers compared to transit. It's hard enough counting the direct transfers of road money to mass transit agencies, the U-turn transfers where Federal highway tax money goes to fund mass transit, tolls diverted elsewhere, etc. But then you have road costs which pay for non-driver uses -- what percentage of highway funds goes to cover sidewalks and bike lanes? What about costs due to transit buses using the road? If a highway shares ROW with a transit line, how is that cost accounted for?

One thing is for sure: The direction of subsidy is massively from road users to transit users. There are certainly general taxes going in to both as well, but to pretend they are anywhere near equal or to assert that roads are actually subsidized more is madness.
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:00 PM
 
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So, in other words, you don't know the answers, but anyone whose guess is opposite of your conclusion is insane? Hm.
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:23 PM
 
9,520 posts, read 14,850,771 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
So, in other words, you don't know the answers, but anyone whose guess is opposite of your conclusion is insane? Hm.
In other words, an exact answer is extremely difficult but a ballpark estimate is not.
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Old 03-05-2014, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,269 posts, read 26,269,309 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
One thing is for sure: The direction of subsidy is massively from road users to transit users. There are certainly general taxes going in to both as well, but to pretend they are anywhere near equal or to assert that roads are actually subsidized more is madness.
I agree with this.

I also agree that transit needs more subsidies. The issue, in my view, is what is a reasonable increase in subsidies for transit. As far as I know, no one has ever made that clear. Putting expensive capital projects aside, how much money would it take for most transit agencies to provide the best possible service to its potential customers?

I came across an article about two weeks ago that broke down spending on transit as a percentage of GDP. From what I recall, the U.S. spends about a half to a third less than Germany spends on a dollar for dollar basis, but it's important to keep in mind that we have the most powerful economy in the world. 30 cents on the dollar (or whatever it was) of American GDP is a hell of a lot more than 70 cents on the dollar of German GDP. Sure, we can always say we need to spend even more, but how much more considering we spend a respectable (imo) fraction of our $17 trillion GDP on transit?

I wish the federal government would direct more funding to the operation and maintenance of transit systems rather than hand out what are essentially stipends for capital projects. Politically, though, I'm not sure which one is more difficult to do. While conservatives don't like the idea of capital projects ("Train to Nowhere"), they may dislike the idea of paying Luis Guzman's salary as a NYC subway operator even more. A country like France can spend a ton of money on transit because there isn't as much ideological opposition to unions as there is here. The UK has more opposition than France (and worse transit overall imo) but still less than the US. I just think there are a lot of people who can't get behind the idea of funding what they see as a massive, wasteful bureaucracy.
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Old 03-05-2014, 09:04 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,269 posts, read 26,269,309 times
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Also, what do you guys think are some realistic ways to get more funding for transit?

Raising fuel taxes is out. It's one thing to talk about raising taxes on capital gains, which affects only a handful of voters, and an entirely different thing to talk about raising taxes on gasoline. In an economy that still hasn't reached full recovery, that is probably the last thing any politician wants to talk about. A few cents increase at the pump may sound silly to some, but it's a political weapon an opponent could use to bludgeon your career to death. I mean, people get mad at Congress and the President any time the price of gas goes up for reasons outside of their control. So imagine what the reaction would be if Congress decided to make it even more expensive than it already is.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/03/us...ices.html?_r=0
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:33 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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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
I just think there are a lot of people who can't get behind the idea of funding what they see as a massive, wasteful bureaucracy.
Or spending money to construct a subway station made of marble.
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