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Old 08-15-2014, 10:58 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,113 posts, read 102,899,540 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
If you're talking about a user fee--a toll--then, no, they didn't pay for the cycle-only infrastructure. But, if we're talking about local roads then, yes, they did pay taxes for it.

Clearly, you don't like bike infrastructure. But I, nor most others, are not, in promoting cycling infrastructure, denying the value roads can add. They allow most of us to get around and good be brought to market. So it makes no sense to pretend, as you did, that the fundamental idea of roads is being attacked within the last few pages of this thread.

But, so far, no-one has given an adequate response to why cyclists should be charged more for local infrastructure than, as tax-paying citizens, they are charged now. We have gone on at length explaining that the marginal cost of cycling infrastructure on shared roadways is almost $0.
  • The initial installation's marginal cost--the cost of this one more thing beyond the last one thing--is almost zero; striping the nearly un-utilized shoulder for a bike lane cost almost nothing above the cost of striping the whole road.
  • The ongoing marginal cost--the cost to maintain that bike lane--is also almost zero; bikes cause almost no harm to infrastructure, and repairs to the roadway is a function of car use and weather.

I say in no uncertain terms that they pay for the shared infrastructure, perhaps through their taxes or perhaps through the higher price of homes due to development fees when the housing was built. And their portion of shared infrastructure costs next to nothing to add and keep up.

So, I ask you--I implore you--, or anyone else, to, at last, clearly articulate why, given this, they should be taxed specifically and additionally for shared infrastructure.
Bike lanes are typically four to six feet wide. Multiplied times two, that's an additional eight to twelve feet of roadway to build (the biggest cost) and maintain. That is not almost zero in most areas. Retrofitting an area with bike paths is extremely expensive. Maintenance may be very low,but it's not zero. There is always street sweeping; in cold climates there's snowplowing. There's the inevitable aging of the roadway (cracks, etc).
Pedestrian & Bicycle Information Center

I think the only reason most people give for wanting to charge cyclists additional fees is this relentless anti-car agenda of some who want drivers charged some additional fees than they are already paying, for roads. I'm not going back through this thread to see if people mentioned increasing the gas tax, registration fees, more toll roads, some sort of mileage charge, etc but I have certainly seen these suggested in the past on this forum.

 
Old 08-15-2014, 11:16 AM
 
7,846 posts, read 5,311,188 times
Reputation: 4025
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
We shouldn't take these assertions as given. And we shouldn't assert or imply that skeptics are foolish for being skeptical.

And I disagree with the assertion that cars are a net negative. I believe they have value, and can flip to negative when they are used where they are not the best fit.
What you "believe" is flat out incorrect. The numbers are what they are; cars are a net drain on society in raw $$$$ signs:

-infrastructure cost / maintenance
-congestion costs (lost economic productivity)
-environmental costs (urban heat area, climate change, air quality & smog)
-health care costs (pollution, obesity, back problems, traffic deaths, traffic injuries)

When added up, personal motor vehicles are a significant net drain on society's finances. Detailed cost comparison between cycling and automotive costs here (they've already analyzed this in Denmark).
 
Old 08-15-2014, 11:17 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,170 posts, read 29,791,254 times
Reputation: 26682
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
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 don't think there needs to be a bicyclist tax, because local roads are generally funded via local funds (sales taxes, state taxes, property taxes, etc) and bicyclists pay into that stuff already.

And frankly, the vast majority of cyclists are driving cars sometimes too. So really, cyclists are getting hit from all angles on the whole road cost thing.
 
Old 08-15-2014, 11:28 AM
 
7,846 posts, read 5,311,188 times
Reputation: 4025
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Bike lanes are typically four to six feet wide. Multiplied times two, that's an additional eight to twelve feet of roadway to build (the biggest cost) and maintain. That is not almost zero in most areas. Retrofitting an area with bike paths is extremely expensive. Maintenance may be very low,but it's not zero. There is always street sweeping; in cold climates there's snowplowing. There's the inevitable aging of the roadway (cracks, etc).
Pedestrian & Bicycle Information Center
False. Most bicycle infrastructure in this country is shared. All they do is restripe the existing road. It is called a road diet. It lowers the road's speed by converting it to mixed use with a turning lane. The results are quite positive. Roads are not widened just to put bike lanes. It works the other way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I think the only reason most people give for wanting to charge cyclists additional fees is this relentless anti-car agenda of some who want drivers charged some additional fees than they are already paying, for roads. I'm not going back through this thread to see if people mentioned increasing the gas tax, registration fees, more toll roads, some sort of mileage charge, etc but I have certainly seen these suggested in the past on this forum.
It should be increased. Cars are a net drain on society. Taxpayers such as myself subsidize the heck out of driving while it bleeds our country dry. Drivers only pay half of road fees for maintenance alone, yet some how have an entitlement complex like they are paying more than their fair share. If motorists want to feel superior, make them pay what they truly cost society.

I speak as one of the many cyclists that own motor vehicles. I have already paid the same as everyone else for the roads.
 
Old 08-15-2014, 11:34 AM
 
7,846 posts, read 5,311,188 times
Reputation: 4025
Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
Bicyclists didn't pay for it. But you can bet the "indirect" benefit of roads is orders of magnitude greater than the "indirect benefit" provided by bike paths.
I have paid the same as you for using the roads I ride my bike on. You conveniently ignored my post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
Certainly not from a "user fee" nor a fee based on distance, registration, etc. Given that public transit is heavily subsidized it wasn't funded by sales of bus or rail tickets either. You want to claim sales taxes funded it? Great. How do you think the products got on the shelves? They weren't hauled in on bike paths by bicycles.
Public transit is subsidized because it is a net positive on the economy. Would we rather have public transit or more people on welfare? Public transit is a direct economic booster. Just look what happens to real estate prices near major stations in big cities.

I guess we would rather have more traffic congestion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
The point was that those rabidly promoting bicycling are hypocritical. They expect a free ride as long as they're riding a bicycle at the same time they want to impose much higher charges/costs for car owners.
Bro, you don't get it. Bicycles are subsidizing cars. Transit riders are subsidizing cars. Society is subsidizing cars. We beg oil companies to keep gas prices low to keep car fanatics happy. We create endlessly expanding highways and put up with climate change, obesity, road rage, car accidents, deaths, traffic congestion, and private debt problems just to satiate our car clown culture. In raw dollar signs, cars are the ones being subsidized.
 
Old 08-15-2014, 11:38 AM
 
7,846 posts, read 5,311,188 times
Reputation: 4025
Let's call a spade a spade:

Motorists get defensive about road funding because they don't want the government car subsidies to go away. We like our car culture. It has been (mistakenly) drilled into our American Dream for years now. We are slowly feeling the consequences of it. They don't care about cars nearly as much in other countries. They are slimmer and happier because of it.
 
Old 08-15-2014, 11:47 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,993 posts, read 42,180,376 times
Reputation: 14811
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Bike lanes are typically four to six feet wide. Multiplied times two, that's an additional eight to twelve feet of roadway to build (the biggest cost) and maintain. That is not almost zero in most areas.
If a road has shoulders, it's not eight to twelve feet of extra room. A lot of bike lanes I've seen are "let's mark the shoulder and call it a bike lane". Often a few other improvements, not much.

Quote:
I think the only reason most people give for wanting to charge cyclists additional fees is this relentless anti-car agenda of some who want drivers charged some additional fees than they are already paying, for roads. I'm not going back through this thread to see if people mentioned increasing the gas tax, registration fees, more toll roads, some sort of mileage charge, etc but I have certainly seen these suggested in the past on this forum.
Supporting a policy because you're annoyed at other's views isn't reasonable at all. It's either a good policy or not. The charging cyclists extra fees is usually supported by those who really dislike bicycles on the road, and because of that agenda irritates cyclists. Perhaps you brought it up as to make a point in the context of the thread, but many weren't really following or started paying attention when bicycles where mentioned.

I support much higher gas taxes mainly as an energy conservation and environmental measure, the main goal isn't to discourage driving, but rather discourage gas gazzlers, though that would be a side effect. The US has much lower gas taxes than just about every developed country. It's not like I don't drive, but I still support higher gas taxes as a policy measure.

 
Old 08-15-2014, 11:54 AM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,013,068 times
Reputation: 1349
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Bike lanes are typically four to six feet wide. Multiplied times two, that's an additional eight to twelve feet of roadway to build (the biggest cost) and maintain. That is not almost zero in most areas. Retrofitting an area with bike paths is extremely expensive. Maintenance may be very low,but it's not zero. There is always street sweeping; in cold climates there's snowplowing. There's the inevitable aging of the roadway (cracks, etc).
Pedestrian & Bicycle Information Center

I think the only reason most people give for wanting to charge cyclists additional fees is this relentless anti-car agenda of some who want drivers charged some additional fees than they are already paying, for roads. I'm not going back through this thread to see if people mentioned increasing the gas tax, registration fees, more toll roads, some sort of mileage charge, etc but I have certainly seen these suggested in the past on this forum.
Thank you for the link.

Have you read the attached PDF report?

It's quite interesting (emphasis mine):

Quote:
The Bikeway category contains bicycle lanes, bicycle paths, and signed bicycle routes. The cost of separated multi-use paths designed for bicyclists and pedestrians can be found in the “Path” section below on page 25. For the purposes of standardizing the units, bicycle lanes are assumed to be five feet in width and bicycle paths 8 feet, with costs given in miles.Additionally bicycle boulevards, streets designed to give priority to bicyclists as through-going traffic, typically range from approximately $200,000 to $650,000 each. Bikeways, or bike paths, are separated facilities designed specifically for bicycles (see Figure 3), while bicycle lanes are designated travel lanes for bicyclists. Separated bikeway projects typically cost between $536,664 and $4,293,320 per mile, depending on site conditions, path width, and materials used. Indicated by bike route signs, signed bike routes are used to direct bicyclists to safer facilities and/or are located on lightly trafficked roads. These types of large-scale bicycle treatments will vary greatly due to differences in project specifications and the scale and length of the treatment.
The median cost for a mile of bicycle lane, given on page 13 in table 2, is $89k. And this includes shoulder lanes and lanes between a parking lane and a traffic lane. And, as we can see from the table on the linked page, as a result, costs vary widely.

Whereas, the cost of a mile of road, as given here by the ARTBA, is

Quote:
Construct a new 2-lane undivided road – about $2-$3 million per mile in rural areas, about $3-5 million in urban areas.
Let's talk about a normal 4-lane road, so let's assume we can double the 2-lane cost. If the cost of a mile of four lane road is $6 million, and the cost of a bike lane is $89k, then the cost of a bike lane as a percentage of total cost of new infrastructure is 1.46%.

That is so cheap! And that's new construction costs. It only gets cheaper as time goes on, as the new cost becomes sunk and the cost of maintaining the bike lane as a percentage of a cost of maintaining the roadway quickly falls toward zero--bikes do almost no damage, and maintenance becomes of function of car use- and weather-related damage.

The question becomes, then, are we concerned enough about something so cost-efficient that we should specifically and additionally charge a targeted group for it?

Last edited by darkeconomist; 08-15-2014 at 12:05 PM.. Reason: Rewording
 
Old 08-15-2014, 11:56 AM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
34,004 posts, read 42,347,870 times
Reputation: 43497
Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanObservor View Post
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.
No, we don't.

Everyone is talking about how gas taxes can't keep up with costs. That's not entirely true if you look at the "why".

Others talk about how general fund taxes are diverted to roads. Again without looking at the "why".

Here's the "why" for both:

For the last couple or three decades highway funds have been raided nationwide by both the Federal and various state governments. Why? Because those funds were in surplus and there weren't any projects in the pipeline to build. Maintenance was deferred because "Well, it really doesn't need fixed this year". One year became two, two became five, five became ten, etc. This was done for all public infrastructure from roads to water and sewer plants to parks to damn near everything.

When you build a road or a bridge or a sewer plant you shouldn't have to do much to it for several years.

In addition, it doesn't seem that many people understand how roads, or any public infrastructure is funded. It's not a "pay cash" system. It's an "issue bonds", usually for twenty years, system. The gas tax is and was designed to pay off bonds, not pay full cash price.

What has now happened is that the funds have been drawn down by being diverted to other programs, with IOUs having been written (just like Social Security) and we've now hit the time where those IOUs have become due. That's how you get General Fund revenues being diverted to the Highway Funds.

And yes, public transit riders should pay more than the average 30%.
 
Old 08-15-2014, 12:55 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,113 posts, read 102,899,540 times
Reputation: 33170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Opin_Yunated View Post
False. Most bicycle infrastructure in this country is shared. All they do is restripe the existing road. It is called a road diet. It lowers the road's speed by converting it to mixed use with a turning lane. The results are quite positive. Roads are not widened just to put bike lanes. It works the other way.



It should be increased. Cars are a net drain on society. Taxpayers such as myself subsidize the heck out of driving while it bleeds our country dry. Drivers only pay half of road fees for maintenance alone, yet some how have an entitlement complex like they are paying more than their fair share. If motorists want to feel superior, make them pay what they truly cost society.

I speak as one of the many cyclists that own motor vehicles. I have already paid the same as everyone else for the roads.
I didn't get anything out of your link that shows that "Most bicycle infrastructure in this country is shared.". It talks about how to do a road diet. Here is a project in Boulder that drove the people who use this road a lot, e.g. my spouse to/from work, crazy during it's endless contruction.
Arapahoe Avenue in east Boulder emerges from disruptive, 2-year overhaul - Boulder Daily Camera
"Boulder County Transportation Director George Gerstle said the $18.5 million project, which began in January 2012 and used 30,000 tons of new asphalt, represents a fresh approach to improving mobility without making the automobile the sole focus.

There is now a multi-use path along the north side of the road, making the journey along Arapahoe less of a hair-raising experience for cyclists, he said.
"

Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
If a road has shoulders, it's not eight to twelve feet of extra room. A lot of bike lanes I've seen are "let's mark the shoulder and call it a bike lane". Often a few other improvements, not much.



Supporting a policy because you're annoyed at other's views isn't reasonable at all. It's either a good policy or not. The charging cyclists extra fees is usually supported by those who really dislike bicycles on the road, and because of that agenda irritates cyclists. Perhaps you brought it up as to make a point in the context of the thread, but many weren't really following or started paying attention when bicycles where mentioned.

I support much higher gas taxes mainly as an energy conservation and environmental measure, the main goal isn't to discourage driving, but rather discourage gas gazzlers, though that would be a side effect. The US has much lower gas taxes than just about every developed country. It's not like I don't drive, but I still support higher gas taxes as a policy measure.
See above re: bike lanes.

I agree that it's not necessarily a good idea to support something b/c you're annoyed at a different POV. It is what happens on these boards, not just Urban Planning, but many of them. I personally don't agree that everything should be tied into "user fees" and "special use taxes" and the like. I don't really give a care about the gas tax anywhere else. I'm sure there'll be something snide said about that, but I don't find it an reasonable argument.
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