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Old 07-17-2014, 06:12 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,170 posts, read 29,785,473 times
Reputation: 26681

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Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
This coming from a me-centric urbanist who expects the world around her to be modified for her convenience, entertainment, etc?

I would agree that choice is illusory and that folks who know people would not make the choice that proponents want have to resort to legislative action to ensure people have no option.

As far as the "de-facto" choice you claim, you claim to ride a bicycle and have touted public transit in the area you live. So it sounds like you have plenty of choice and your argument seems anti-car and about eliminating choice for others. Obviously you despise cars - so don't ride one. But don't expect employers to limit locations where the employees all have to live within a short public transit commute from condo ghettoes.
Me-centric urbanist who wants the world to revolve around her who despises cars? That's pretty hilarious.

I live in a transit friendly bike friendly area, but taking transit to work is about 3X longer than driving for work to me. And if I were to live where I worked, I would pay 2x-2.5x more than I pay now for an area that's less bike able and less transit friendly. Unfortunately the county I work in decided to forgo funding the regional "rapid transit" back in the 60s, and it doesn't connect to my office. Taking transit to work would require 3 agencies and about $20 a day. So yeah, that isn't a good choice. It could have been if people thought differently when the cost of infrastructure was cheap.

Lucky for me I have a decent income so I have some housing choices, and I can prioritize walkability, ride my bike and still afford a car. Unfortunately a whole lot of other people with means have also decided they want to live in walkable areas with transit, which is pricing out the people that need to live in those types of neighborhoods, and there aren't enough neighborhoods that meet the demands of people who want to live in walkable/bikeable/transit-able places. There is a severe shortage here in the Bay Area, and those places are appreciating a lot faster than the other places. The million dollar neighborhoods in Oakland are changing from the areas in the hills with a view to the areas with charm and stuff in walking distance.

Sometimes driving is the best choice, but if we don't even consider other options we aren't being honest with ourselves as we wonder why people do not take the poorly funded, poorly designed, poorly maintained alternatives. People mostly want the same things: to get where they are going efficiently and safely. Any mode, when properly designed can provide a good user experience.

My neighborhood, and plenty others in Oakland, overbuilt road infrastructure for the actual auto-demand on the road. There is a street near me designed for 2X the car traffic than we have right now. There are also trends that are shifting people into other modes by choice. Converting one of the 4 lanes on the road into the bike lane isn't going to cause traffic armageddon, but would make it a lot easier for people to bike across town. The drivers wouldn't even notice the change, half the time I could swerve across the 3 lans without seeing more than one car for blocks! Lucky for me, Oakland grew up around the train and streetcar, so it mostly has good bones of smaller streets and neighborhoods centered around mixed use commercial districts (some that have been dormant for a little while, and other that have thrived for decades), so there is a lot of opportunity to create flexible development.

Creating more space for other choice isn't anti-car. It is pro-opportunity. But it is a lot easier to accuse people who are worried about the broader impact or our overwhelming reliance on building car only communities as bing anti car.

*You might find this stat about how this company planned their new office location around shortening commutes for their employees interesting: Shutterstock's Big, Data-Driven Office Move | Inc.com Employers win when they can reduce commute times and commute stress of their employees - less turnover. Picking an office location that is convenient for travel from multiple modes is a good idea.

 
Old 07-17-2014, 06:16 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,170 posts, read 29,785,473 times
Reputation: 26681
Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
So did you forget you already "shared" your comment on #4 previously or did you just think you needed to disagree twice to the same post? A bit hypocritical (twice) considering you did not suggest the "community over individual rights" post that prompted a rebuttal comment should have been moved to a different thread. Apparently it's the viewpoint rather than the topic that you prefer be moved.
Perhaps you missed my intent. The idea of the individual being paramount is central to American culture, and shapes how we frame our arguments in all spheres. Including transportation.
 
Old 07-17-2014, 06:35 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,101 posts, read 16,163,564 times
Reputation: 12713
Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
I hear a lot of counter-arguments to the OP that transit is subsidized. Yes, that is certainly true. But transit at least makes some costs back via fares. Without exorbitant tolls, roads would have no way to return any expense. None. Mass transit would have expensive fares to have to make up costs, also true. But keep in mind that there is far more road to be maintained, and to keep them maintained would require a lot more than mass transit systems, as they carry far less people pound-for-pound than transit.
Nope.

Cost of transit infastructure is in this country really never paid back by fares. Fares don't even pay the operating costs.

It'd be like you went down to the dealer and picked up a $30,000 car and they said "Great, that'll be $15k since the government pays for half the operating costs of your car." And then you went and paid for insurance for a policy that cost $2k a year, and the insurance company said, "Great, that will be $1,000 since the government pays for half the operating costs. And then you went to the gas station and bought $40 worth of fuel with no extra added on for taxes, as the attendant said, "Great, that'll be $20 please since the government pays for half the operating costs." And then you had to buy new tires, car repairs, etc. so on and so forth.

Transit is the same way. It never pays a dime back on what it cost to build. In contrast, the car does pay for some of those infrastructure costs in the form of taxation. In other countries, mostly Asia, transit does pay for those infrastructure costs partially as well since it operates at a profit. They also leverage public-private partnerships to help pay for the infrastructure. Public-private partnership has a very different meaning there. Here in America, it means the taxpayer subsidizes private development. In Asia, it means the developer pays for part of the transit infrastructure in exchange for getting transit infrastructure to his development. You don't end up with a lot of stupid transit since the transit operators actually have to operate the transit based on fares rather than having wheel barrows of money thrown at them to run horribly inefficient transit that costs far more than driving would and uses more energy.
 
Old 07-17-2014, 06:40 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,170 posts, read 29,785,473 times
Reputation: 26681
The question is, is transit a city service like let's say recycling? Is it a profit generator? Is it a community good? What role does it have in your community, and how should you price it. Transit has a pretty multi-faceted impact. From reducing congestion, providing lifeline transportation for those in need, to providing convenience...
 
Old 07-17-2014, 06:50 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,101 posts, read 16,163,564 times
Reputation: 12713
Recycling is a good example. Recycling is made profitable by CRV. When you buy a bottle of soda, you pay 5-10 cents in CRV. You can then get that back when your recycle the bottle. Now, if you don't buy a lot of bottles of things since they're a waste of money, you're not on the hook for paying the CRV. It is a user fee. No use, no fee.

Transit is the opposite. Whether or not you actually use transit, you're paying for most of it as the user fee covers generally a minimal amount of the cost. No different in principal with road costs and driving. It's jut the scope. User fees cover the majority. You might pay $5,000/yr (or more, especially with luxury cars) to drive while the subsidized amount your usage fees aren't covering for roads is maybe $500/yr. Big difference versus transit. Here a monthly pass is $100 and covers 20% of the cost, leaving the other $4,800 to be paid for by the taxpayer.

Roads should be treated more like recycling rather than more like transit. The difference is really in that roads are just a lot cheaper than providing transit. They're both heavily subsidized, but roads cost a lot less so heavy subsidy costs a small fraction of what transit does.
 
Old 07-17-2014, 08:24 PM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,012,664 times
Reputation: 1349
Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
Poorly crafted, poorly supported, and clearly promoting a transit-over-car agenda.

They aren't "your" roadways and your point is wholly irrelevant. Who said a "fuel tax" should pay for 100% of the cost of a road?

Define FRR.

So did you forget you already "shared" your comment on #4 previously or did you just think you needed to disagree twice to the same post? A bit hypocritical (twice) considering you did not suggest the "community over individual rights" post that prompted a rebuttal comment should have been moved to a different thread. Apparently it's the viewpoint rather than the topic that you prefer be moved.
Transit wasn't brought up in the original post. To suggest that the OP was being anti-private car is reasonable, but it doesn't follow logically from that to say the OP was being pro-public transit. Getting around isn't so binary that opposition to the private car equals support for PT.

"Our," as in the public roadways.

From the OP's narrative:
Quote:
John was shocked. "But… but… I paid to drive on those roads! The gas tax pays for the roads I drive on!"
A lot of people believe the gas tax fully funds our roadways. And the idea of our current taxes, gas taxes explicitly included, being sufficient was central to the OP's narrative.

Farebox recovery ratio:
Quote:
the fraction of operating expenses which are met by the fares paid by passengers.
I made the same comment twice (#4) because it seemed worth repeating that you went way out there and brought in a subject that is not a good fit for UP and was worthy of its own thread (even ignoring that your statement was a wholly inaccurate representation of the US).
 
Old 07-17-2014, 08:43 PM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,012,664 times
Reputation: 1349
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Roads should be treated more like recycling rather than more like transit. The difference is really in that roads are just a lot cheaper than providing transit. They're both heavily subsidized, but roads cost a lot less so heavy subsidy costs a small fraction of what transit does.
That's not entirely accurate.

Roads may (or may not, depends on the road and the transit it's being compared to) cost less to lay and maintain. But, there's a long list of things that doesn't include. We heavily underwrite gasoline. We price emissions ineffectively. Health effects of living near a roadway is external to that count. The cost of accidents, from health costs to insurance costs to police costs, are not included. The costs of vehicle purchase and ownership (gas, maintenance, repairs) are not included. Opportunity cost of land given over to cars (eg, additional lanes, parking) is external. And many of these things branch out in to 100 bullet points of their own.

So, while you generally make a good point, it includes a GIANT asterisk.
 
Old 07-17-2014, 09:19 PM
 
Location: Oceania
8,623 posts, read 6,280,228 times
Reputation: 8318
Quote:
Originally Posted by A2DAC1985 View Post



New cars on the market get an average of 25 miles per gallon. Now John drove 100 miles a day with a car that got 25 miles per gallon, so he went through 4 gallons of gas a day.
John has been driving a car and getting 25 MPG for 60 years? Who manufactured such cars? Unless he drove a BUG...
 
Old 07-17-2014, 10:03 PM
 
1,709 posts, read 1,682,992 times
Reputation: 1843
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Nope.

Cost of transit infastructure is in this country really never paid back by fares. Fares don't even pay the operating costs.

It'd be like you went down to the dealer and picked up a $30,000 car and they said "Great, that'll be $15k since the government pays for half the operating costs of your car." And then you went and paid for insurance for a policy that cost $2k a year, and the insurance company said, "Great, that will be $1,000 since the government pays for half the operating costs. And then you went to the gas station and bought $40 worth of fuel with no extra added on for taxes, as the attendant said, "Great, that'll be $20 please since the government pays for half the operating costs." And then you had to buy new tires, car repairs, etc. so on and so forth.

Transit is the same way. It never pays a dime back on what it cost to build. In contrast, the car does pay for some of those infrastructure costs in the form of taxation. In other countries, mostly Asia, transit does pay for those infrastructure costs partially as well since it operates at a profit. They also leverage public-private partnerships to help pay for the infrastructure. Public-private partnership has a very different meaning there. Here in America, it means the taxpayer subsidizes private development. In Asia, it means the developer pays for part of the transit infrastructure in exchange for getting transit infrastructure to his development. You don't end up with a lot of stupid transit since the transit operators actually have to operate the transit based on fares rather than having wheel barrows of money thrown at them to run horribly inefficient transit that costs far more than driving would and uses more energy.
I think you missed my point. I am totally aware that transit hardly ever breaks even, much less makes a profit. But at least it collects some kind of revenue. Unless you install tolls, roads do not collect revenue at all. The taxes don't count, as they too are subsidy. If funding to roads and transit was cut off tomorrow, with all road funding reduced to sidewalk maintenance or something really barebones, the transit could survive on rate hikes, as the roads would eventually deteriorate to the point of no use, while the transit could survive on direct revenue and, after the collapse of the roads, a captive market. Not that I support this measure, but it shows how transit can at least contribute directly to its own upkeep. Things like gas taxes count more as subsidy, and will also become less and less effective as cars become more fuel-efficient, and will eventually become useless when cars powered by power sources other than oil appear. And toll booths would have to be everywhere (and their tolls exorbitantly high) to upkeep all the road infrastructure across the states. Additionally, toll booths in developed areas will cause traffic congestion and increase commute times, which may make roads a less than desirable option for some.

I agree with the private-public partnership issue. Public-private partnerships here too often are public-run institutions for the private sector. In other nations, they are more paid for by the private sector for the public, which is far more beneficial to everyone.
 
Old 07-17-2014, 10:42 PM
 
Location: the Permian Basin
4,196 posts, read 3,104,833 times
Reputation: 5897
Quote:
Originally Posted by A2DAC1985 View Post
That works out to $3.61 in taxes paid a day. And since John worked everyday, 365 a year, he paid $1,317.65 a year in gas taxes. And since he drove 100 miles per day, everyday, for 60 years, he paid $79,059 in gas taxes.
The OP failed to mention that millions of drivers are on the road each day burning taxed fuel, thus the amount of fuel tax paid by all drivers per day is exponentially higher than the amount of fuel tax "John" paid over the course of his driving life.


Quote:
Originally Posted by A2DAC1985 View Post
It costs $1,600,000 dollars (lowest estimate) to build one mile of interstate.
The OP failed to address "the other side of the coin" in the highway funding debate: the need to drastically reduce the cost of building and maintaining roadways.


Quote:
Originally Posted by A2DAC1985 View Post
Yes John, you did pay, but you didn't pay nearly enough to cover the actual cost of building that road, nor the upkeep of that road.
Both of my previous points apply here.


Quote:
Originally Posted by A2DAC1985 View Post
The federal gas tax is $0.184 a gallon
The highest taxed gallon of gas is $0.719 a gallon
Combine those numbers and you get a total of $0.903 of taxes levied per gallon of gas.
The OP fails to take into account that "John" also pays state and local fuel and sales taxes, and also fails to address the numerous hidden taxes and fees levied upon motor fuels prior to the point of sale to the consumer.


But by far, the biggest failure in the original posting is the OP's overall implication: that each and every "John Q. Public" in America pays much less that his fair share of gas taxes, and by extension, that fuel taxes should be hiked.


For the sake of peacekeeping, I will assume that these failures were a series of oversights on the part of the OP, and not deliberate acts of intellectual dishonesty.
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