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Old 08-13-2014, 01:50 PM
 
116 posts, read 174,663 times
Reputation: 118

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opin_Yunated View Post

Also, road funding is taken out of the general fund which includes income, property, and sales taxes. Most of it isn't paid for by gas taxes.
This varies by state, but what is obvious is that in most states the gas tax and the general fund (for which many interests compete) are not enough to keep roads and bridges well-maintained. We need a new dedicated funding source and that should be a road user charge.

 
Old 08-13-2014, 02:21 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,014 posts, read 102,634,943 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
Well, I want to know what you want.

Several of us have already laid out arguments against charging bicyclists for existing, shared infrastructure. The infrastructure exists; the marginal cost of striping the unused margin of a road is almost zero; road damage by bicycles in almost zero.

So, besides some moralizing about "fairness," I want to know what it is, what concrete, definable, defensible actions you would like to see.
Last things first, I have never said a word about "fairness". I abhor that term. I MAY have used the term "fair share" somewhere along the line.

Secondly, while I don't think roads are a "utility", they are part of the infrastructure of a city. EVERYONE uses the roads somehow. Roads help people get from "Point A" to "Point B". You can't just build a bunch of houses without some roadways. Nor can businesses operate without roads for people to get to the business. You need some public rights of way. So everyone should be paying for them. The mom walking her baby in a stroller on a sidewalk is taking advantage of the road system to get wherever it is she is going, even if it's just around the block for some fresh air. Students walking to school are taking advantage of the road system to get from their homes to school. A city cannot function without roads. Now I do not suggest charging babies or underage kids for roads, but certainly their parents should help pay for them, whether they're driving a car on them or just walking along the side. Bicyclists use roadways to get where they want to go. They should help pay for them.

Heck, in most societies, you pay taxes on many services you don't use at all. Only about 20% of people have kids in public school, but everyone pays school taxes, for example. Very few people have ever needed the services of the fire dept, but everyone pays for it. Why roads should be singled out as a "user pays all" and then all sorts of exceptions be made for this paying, e.g. bicyclists don't cause road damage so they shouldn't be assessed, I don't understand. Someone has to pay for the initial installation, regardless. I know this is rambling. I'm mad.

Last edited by Katarina Witt; 08-13-2014 at 02:43 PM.. Reason: enough with the arguement
 
Old 08-13-2014, 03:03 PM
 
116 posts, read 174,663 times
Reputation: 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Last things first, I have never said a word about "fairness". I abhor that term. I MAY have used the term "fair share" somewhere along the line.

Secondly, while I don't think roads are a "utility", they are part of the infrastructure of a city. EVERYONE uses the roads somehow. Roads help people get from "Point A" to "Point B". You can't just build a bunch of houses without some roadways. Nor can businesses operate without roads for people to get to the business. You need some public rights of way. So everyone should be paying for them. The mom walking her baby in a stroller on a sidewalk is taking advantage of the road system to get wherever it is she is going, even if it's just around the block for some fresh air. Students walking to school are taking advantage of the road system to get from their homes to school. A city cannot function without roads. Now I do not suggest charging babies or underage kids for roads, but certainly their parents should help pay for them, whether they're driving a car on them or just walking along the side. Bicyclists use roadways to get where they want to go. They should help pay for them.

Heck, in most societies, you pay taxes on many services you don't use at all. Only about 20% of people have kids in public school, but everyone pays school taxes, for example. Very few people have ever needed the services of the fire dept, but everyone pays for it. Why roads should be singled out as a "user pays all" and then all sorts of exceptions be made for this paying, e.g. bicyclists don't cause road damage so they shouldn't be assessed, I don't understand. Someone has to pay for the initial installation, regardless. I know this is rambling. I'm mad.
The people driving 30 minutes each way every day to get to work are causing far more wear and tear on the road than someone who commutes by walking or biking or taking a train to work. It's nonsense to say most road damage is caused by weather - have you ever seen some of the roads in LA or San Jose, where weather is almost never extreme? Road damage is caused primarily by usage. Those who are using them more are damaging them more and therefore should be contributing more to maintaining them.

Also, how are roads any different than, say, electricity? Do you know anyone who doesn't use electricity in any way, shape, or form? EVERYONE uses electricity somehow (walk into a McDonalds and order a burger, you're using electricity from the lights, the cooking equipment, etc.) yet not everyone pays for it equally. You pay for electricity based on the usage you are responsible for. Same should go for roads.
 
Old 08-13-2014, 03:20 PM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,006,214 times
Reputation: 1348
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Last things first, I have never said a word about "fairness". I abhor that term. I MAY have used the term "fair share" somewhere along the line.

Secondly, while I don't think roads are a "utility", they are part of the infrastructure of a city. EVERYONE uses the roads somehow. Roads help people get from "Point A" to "Point B". You can't just build a bunch of houses without some roadways. Nor can businesses operate without roads for people to get to the business. You need some public rights of way. So everyone should be paying for them. The mom walking her baby in a stroller on a sidewalk is taking advantage of the road system to get wherever it is she is going, even if it's just around the block for some fresh air. Students walking to school are taking advantage of the road system to get from their homes to school. A city cannot function without roads. Now I do not suggest charging babies or underage kids for roads, but certainly their parents should help pay for them, whether they're driving a car on them or just walking along the side. Bicyclists use roadways to get where they want to go. They should help pay for them.

Heck, in most societies, you pay taxes on many services you don't use at all. Only about 20% of people have kids in public school, but everyone pays school taxes, for example. Very few people have ever needed the services of the fire dept, but everyone pays for it. Why roads should be singled out as a "user pays all" and then all sorts of exceptions be made for this paying, e.g. bicyclists don't cause road damage so they shouldn't be assessed, I don't understand. Someone has to pay for the initial installation, regardless. I know this is rambling. I'm mad.
I get that you're mad. We've had similar back-and-forth arguments previously, but I'm trying to tease out specifics which I can "dig my teeth in to," so to speak. I, at least, am really trying to understand your side of the story.

The question is does it make sense to charge bicyclists given the following assumptions?
  • We're talking about shared, not dedicated, infrastructure
  • (As you noted, above, as a matter of the importance of roads) The roadway will exist, regardless of the existence of cyclists
  • Cyclists use a part of the roadway--the shoulder--that has little value to drivers on many roads
  • Cyclists cause almost zero damage to the roadway, and, thus, the road only needs repair as a function of vehicle use and weather
  • Many cyclists already pay the taxes that go to local road upkeep
 
Old 08-13-2014, 03:36 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
45,990 posts, read 41,998,698 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Secondly, while I don't think roads are a "utility", they are part of the infrastructure of a city. EVERYONE uses the roads somehow. Roads help people get from "Point A" to "Point B". You can't just build a bunch of houses without some roadways. Nor can businesses operate without roads for people to get to the business. You need some public rights of way. So everyone should be paying for them.
Isn't that the case already? Automobile-related fees and taxes don't cover all road expenses, so everyone or at least every taxpayer is paying for them in some way.

There's also a magnitude difference in expense from a small two lane road to a multi-lane road designed for high speeds. Pedestrian and bike infrastructure are much more similar in scale to the former rather than the latter.
 
Old 08-13-2014, 04:24 PM
 
2,493 posts, read 2,195,701 times
Reputation: 3351
The only person NOT paying to use the roads, is someone homeless, unemployed and not making any purchases (all food by food stamps or food banks). This MIGHT be 1/2 of 1% of the population.
Everyone else is paying some combination of income tax, sales tax, property tax or fuel tax.
If you drive a lot, you pay more fuel tax AND cause more wear and tear on the roads.
If you don't drive, you don't pay any fuel tax but you also cause no wear & tear on the roads.
But you are still paying income tax or property tax or sales tax, all of which are use for streets and roads.

I'm not sure why this is so difficult to understand and I certainly don't understand how anyone could be mad at 1/2 of 1% of the population for not paying their "fair share".

Edit: The obvious exception to this is someone just traveling thru, who does not buy fuel, spend money (sales tax) or pay local property tax.
 
Old 08-13-2014, 04:36 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,014 posts, read 102,634,943 times
Reputation: 33082
Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanObservor View Post
The people driving 30 minutes each way every day to get to work are causing far more wear and tear on the road than someone who commutes by walking or biking or taking a train to work. It's nonsense to say most road damage is caused by weather - have you ever seen some of the roads in LA or San Jose, where weather is almost never extreme? Road damage is caused primarily by usage. Those who are using them more are damaging them more and therefore should be contributing more to maintaining them.

Also, how are roads any different than, say, electricity? Do you know anyone who doesn't use electricity in any way, shape, or form? EVERYONE uses electricity somehow walk into a McDonalds and order a burger, you're using electricity from the lights, the cooking equipment, etc. yet not everyone pays for it equally. You pay for electricity based on the usage you are responsible for. Same should go for roads.
In most utility systems, everyone does have to pay a hook-up charge, for the use of the service, plus the use of their electricity. I believe some have a minimum charge, too, no matter how little you use. Some municipal water systems have a flat rate for residential use, no matter how large the residence, how many people live there, how often one waters their lawn, does laundry, washes their car, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
I get that you're mad. We've had similar back-and-forth arguments previously, but I'm trying to tease out specifics which I can "dig my teeth in to," so to speak. I, at least, am really trying to understand your side of the story.

The question is does it make sense to charge bicyclists given the following assumptions?
  • We're talking about shared, not dedicated, infrastructure
  • (As you noted, above, as a matter of the importance of roads) The roadway will exist, regardless of the existence of cyclists
  • Cyclists use a part of the roadway--the shoulder--that has little value to drivers on many roads
  • Cyclists cause almost zero damage to the roadway, and, thus, the road only needs repair as a function of vehicle use and weather
  • Many cyclists already pay the taxes that go to local road upkeep
This thread started out with a mythical conversation about gas taxes. The OP's premise is hard to figure out, but it seems like s/he is saying the auto-driving public is a) stupid, and b) thinks they're paying more than their "fair share". IRL, I've never heard a driver say that. The OP then went on to "prove", erroneously it turned out, that drivers aren't paying their "fair share". So if you want to talk about people moralizing about "fairness", it's the OP you should go after, not me.

I think roads are a public infrastructure amenity. We all use them. It's hard to put this into words, but you cyclists wouldn't have a bike path if there weren't roads in the first place. You sure as hell wouldn't have a bike path on a bridge w/o a significant expenditure of money to build the bridge. With no bridge, you couldn't get to the other side. It doesn't matter if the bike path doesn't require maintenance (dubious), it still has to be built, as a part of the roadway. I believe the shoulder of the road is a safety device, BTW. My city spent about $1million to build a tunnel for bikes and pedestrians under a busy roadway. Even in most muni budgets, that's a lot of money. It's not the first tunnel they've built, either. They've built separate bike paths all over town, as well. They had to pay for land acquisition and building.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Isn't that the case already? Automobile-related fees and taxes don't cover all road expenses, so everyone or at least every taxpayer is paying for them in some way.

There's also a magnitude difference in expense from a small two lane road to a multi-lane road designed for high speeds. Pedestrian and bike infrastructure are much more similar in scale to the former rather than the latter.
Re: the bold, yes, that's correct. The OP is false. End of thread?
 
Old 08-13-2014, 04:51 PM
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
45,990 posts, read 41,998,698 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
The OP then went on to "prove", erroneously it turned out, that drivers aren't paying their "fair share". So if you want to talk about people moralizing about "fairness", it's the OP you should go after, not me.
Quote:
Re: the bold, yes, that's correct. The OP is false. End of thread?
The recent conversation was in response to your comment "bicyclists should pay, too". It seemed like you were suggesting bicyclists should pay an additional user fee, though it wasn't completely unclear. We havent' been talking in response to the OP for a long time in this thread now, there's no reason anyone should go after the OP at this point. I said the OP is false on maybe the second page. I have little interest in repeating my statement, or spending any more time with the OP.

Quote:
I think roads are a public infrastructure amenity. We all use them. It's hard to put this into words, but you cyclists wouldn't have a bike path if there weren't roads in the first place. You sure as hell wouldn't have a bike path on a bridge w/o a significant expenditure of money to build the bridge. With no bridge, you couldn't get to the other side. It doesn't matter if the bike path doesn't require maintenance (dubious), it still has to be built, as a part of the roadway. I believe the shoulder of the road is a safety device, BTW. My city spent about $1million to build a tunnel for bikes and pedestrians under a busy roadway. Even in most muni budgets, that's a lot of money. It's not the first tunnel they've built, either. They've built separate bike paths all over town, as well. They had to pay for land acquisition and building.
Functionally, the shoulder serves as the usual place for bicyclists to go. As for bike paths, Louisville has a much larger network of bike paths than almost any similar-sized place I'm aware of.
 
Old 08-13-2014, 04:55 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,014 posts, read 102,634,943 times
Reputation: 33082
^^I guess I meant that if everyone is divvying up the responsibility of paying, then bicyclists should pay too. This idea that bicyclists don't cause road damage doesn't have anything to do with the roads being built in the first place.
 
Old 08-13-2014, 05:06 PM
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
45,990 posts, read 41,998,698 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
^^I guess I meant that if everyone is divvying up the responsibility of paying, then bicyclists should pay too. This idea that bicyclists don't cause road damage doesn't have anything to do with the roads being built in the first place.
I haven't been doing any "divvying" and I should count under some of the "everyone" here.

Well, bicycles should pay too does suggest they currently aren't paying anything. A lot (most?) of road spending goes to making roads that are unpleasant or nearly dangerous to bike on. Adding extra lanes, building for higher speeds are expensive but acutally degrade the road from the bicyclist stand point. On the other hand, fixing the frequent potholes of local roads and side streets would be particularly beneficial for bicycles as you feel them more. And they're all weather-caused.

Last edited by nei; 08-13-2014 at 05:23 PM..
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