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Old 07-17-2014, 10:45 PM
 
Location: the Permian Basin
4,196 posts, read 3,091,229 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
The idea of the individual being paramount is central to American culture, and shapes how we frame our arguments in all spheres. Including transportation.
As it has been since the founding of this nation, and as it should be.

 
Old 07-18-2014, 08:07 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,272 posts, read 26,286,355 times
Reputation: 11734
Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
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.
If all state, local and federal subsidies were eliminated tomorrow, most transit agencies likely wouldn't make it through the week. Layoffs would certainly occur. Hours would be curtailed. And fares would have to be raised to make up for the funding deficit. I'm not sure what the full cost of a ride on SEPTA or MARTA is, but it's a good deal higher than what it is now. The higher cost would cause to demand to plummet. A complete absence of funding would cause transit agencies to go into a death spiral in a matter of weeks.

Needless to say, it takes more than weeks for a road to deteriorate. The City of Alexandria aims to resurface its roads every 8-12 years but admittedly does so every 25 years.

Maintenance Division | T&ES | City of Alexandria, VA
 
Old 07-18-2014, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
2,704 posts, read 4,677,806 times
Reputation: 3691
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Cool story. Just needs to go up to about $180/mo to cover the operating cost. Then we can simplify the discussion and talk about much more of the infrastructure costs are covered by gas taxes versus the 0% covered by transit users. Gas tax should be increased, but that's really ancillary to the fact that transit is much more subsidized than driving.
And in many areas, drivers are paying for mass transit, too, because fairly large amounts of gas tax money is used for mass transit. That's how it is here in Washington state- and then they turn around and say we don't have enough money to pay for road maintenance, that we don't have enough gas tax revenue. I say stop siphoning the gas tax money, use it ONLY for roads as it's intended- find out what the true shortfall is- and then raise gas taxes accordingly to bridge that gap. But make sure all of that money goes to our roads.
 
Old 07-18-2014, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
2,704 posts, read 4,677,806 times
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One thing to keep in mind, is that those remote stretches of freeway that only get a few thousand vehicles per day would still have to be there even of far fewer people drove- because they are vital connections for commerce. Trucks need them, local governments need them, emergency vehicles need them, etc. So in places like rural South Dakota where long stretches of interstate exist that look pretty empty most of the time- they are the minimal "sized" freeways with just two lanes in each direction, so it's not like we could shrink them at all- and they would still exist regardless of getting more people to use buses. (although bus travel basically doesn't exist in places like that, because it's impossible to even make it useful in those rural areas where each person's trip is so unique to another person's- if you had buses going to every location each person wanted, you'd have like 1 passenger per bus.)
 
Old 07-18-2014, 09:05 AM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
2,704 posts, read 4,677,806 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hurricaneMan1992 View Post
One could argue that the zoning practices in almost every city incentivize the automobile in a very, very deep and fundamental way, and have been doing this for 80+ years in most cities, while many mass transit systems are 20 years old or younger. This is a HUGE difference!!! Due to minimum parking requirements, one simply CANNOT build something that doesn't cater to automobiles. Meanwhile, there is generally no requirement that development make mass transit more convenient or usable. This subsidy may seem small, but remember it is in effect over almost every square foot in almost every city in the US. Think about it: the typical city block has more space dedicated to cars (parking plus road space), than it does to living space and people actually conducting business. I bet if the free market determined parking requirements rather than excessive parking limits determined back in the 60's and 80's by politicians and commissioners (who BTW tend to drive nice cars), the threshold city size where mass transit is more convenient than a car, at least in the city center, would be much smaller than New York, New York. It would be more similar to many medium-sized European and Asian cities, which can be quite dynamic and exciting and often have better mass transit than our largest cities (apart from NYC and Chicago).

I'm not going to argue which system is "better" here, since both approaches have advantages and disadvantages depending on the resident population, I just want to point out that the way we have REQUIRED US cities to be built in the last 80+ years incentives driving much, much more deeply than the subsidies we have just began to put into mass transit for the last 20 years or so in most cities. Design matters, and zoning is a huge part of design!
I will say the reason development has to cater to cars is because almost everyone uses a car as their primary mode of transportation in this country. Car ownership is about 900 per every 1000 Americans. So if it were different, where only 100 out of every 1000 had cars, then you'd see the opposite, where development catered to mass transit and not much to cars. It's not that government is forcing us to use cars, they are working around the real world fact that this is how we get around.
 
Old 07-18-2014, 09:16 AM
 
7,846 posts, read 5,296,476 times
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Oh jeez, the driver entitlement syndrome!

Drivers pay about 50% of road maintenance costs at the pump or toll booths, but complain about every other mode of transportation. By contrast, Amtrak covers 88% of user fees.

I'm the real sucker in this one.. because I pay gas tax, vehicle registration / inspection fees, income tax, sales tax, and property tax (all of which heavily subsidize roads), but bike to work gas-free.

I guess its time for the whiney drivers to pay up.
 
Old 07-18-2014, 10:23 AM
 
249 posts, read 356,601 times
Reputation: 443
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
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.
The all-important difference is that drivers can always choose to use transit (including moving to a place where transit is available) if they think that transit-riders are getting a better deal for their tax money.

Not all transit users, on the other hand, can choose to become drivers. These people are required to pay for automobile infrastructure that they will never be allowed to use (unless they convince a member of the automobile-driving Master Race to drive them).
 
Old 07-18-2014, 10:25 AM
 
2,941 posts, read 3,864,754 times
Reputation: 1439
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schermerhorn View Post
The all-important difference is that drivers can always choose to use transit (including moving to a place where transit is available) if they think that transit-riders are getting a better deal for their tax money.

Not all transit users, on the other hand, can choose to become drivers. These people are required to pay for automobile infrastructure that they will never be allowed to use (unless they convince a member of the automobile-driving Master Race to drive them).
Thoose roads do more than just carry people. They also carry cargo. Heck CTA EL trains are delivered or taken away for scrap by road not rail.
 
Old 07-18-2014, 10:33 AM
 
249 posts, read 356,601 times
Reputation: 443
Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
Thoose roads do more than just carry people. They also carry cargo. Heck CTA EL trains are delivered or taken away for scrap by road not rail.
Of course they carry cargo -- the railroads have been decimated to the point where it's almost impossible to ship something without using automobile infrastructure in some way. If gas taxes and highway tolls were raised to cover their real costs, I would happily pay the resulting increased prices for the goods whose prices include those costs. The tax savings gained from not having to subsidize highways would more than make up for it.
 
Old 07-18-2014, 10:41 AM
 
2,941 posts, read 3,864,754 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schermerhorn View Post
Of course they carry cargo -- the railroads have been decimated to the point where it's almost impossible to ship something without using automobile infrastructure in some way. If gas taxes and highway tolls were raised to cover their real costs, I would happily pay the resulting increased prices for the goods whose prices include those costs. The tax savings gained from not having to subsidize highways would more than make up for it.
The trouble with rail is the way it works. An truck is not limited by timetable and can deliver door to door. Rail can not this is what caused the shift from rail to truck in the first place. This is also one of the reasons why the trolley could never totally replace the horse and carriage. Sure they did have some specialized trolleys for cargo but most things that were delivered were delivered by horse and carriage. In other words the horse and carriage took cargo from station or dock to door very often.

Roads and cars are just more flexible time wise about departure and route and the fact that it is non-stop means it will beat public transit speed wise in many situations.
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