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Old 02-07-2009, 12:30 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,872 posts, read 17,756,057 times
Reputation: 3838

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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmilf View Post
Magellan, when you compare light rail subsidies to highway "subsidies", you are making an incorrect comparison.

Highways in Michigan are "subsidised" by fuel taxes and vehicle fees at the state and federal level. The motorists who use the highways pay for the highway system. The riders who use light rail pay for only a fraction of the light rail system.

You can quibble about occasional shortfalls in the state highway funding and in the United States Federal Highway Trust Fund, but even then the highways are still nearly completely paid for by those who use them. This cannot be said of the consumers of most mass transit systems.

I don't pay $20 or $30 every time I enter I-75. No one would. You didn't present a realistic number. By way of comparison, I did pay to use the New York State Thruway a while back. Went from Buffalo to Albany and then to Massachutsetts, a total distance of about 400 miles. Cost me only $20 in tolls to travel the entire length of New York State.

I do pay for I-75 every time I buy plates for my vehicles, every time I pump gasoline into my vehicles. I also pay to use I-75 every time I purchase something in the store; the transportation costs (including fuel taxes and vehicle fees) of the items I purchase are included in the purchase price.

Even though I may never drive on I-96 you do...and you pay vehicle fees and fuel taxes, same as me...you don't get a free ride. Yes, there's a slight imbalance between the collection of the fees and taxes versus the dispersement of those same fees and taxes. The people of Oakland County get back slightly less in state highway funding than they pay in fuel fees and vehicle taxes. I chalk that up to being the richest county (per capita) in the state -- I'm not going to sweat it.
How is it incorrect? You just illustrated my point by saying that the highways are paid by taxes, not by individual users entering and exiting the system. Because our transit system in Kent County is paid for by millages, much like the rest of the state, I pay for the bus system every time my property tax bill comes due. I pay for upkeep of I-96 every time I get gas, even if I never use it. Same with I-75. I am "subsidizing" that system.

subsidy (sŭb'sĭ-dē)

1. Monetary assistance granted by a government to a person or group in support of an enterprise regarded as being in the public interest.
2. Financial assistance given by one person or government to another.

However you slice it, transportation systems are subsidized by taxpayer dollars. Even airports. They are never paid fully by the individual users at the time of use. Your example of the toll road is perfect. That $20 you paid came nowhere near close enough to pay for the toll road's upkeep. But it's a way for the East Coast states to collect an additional revenue for the road upkeep, relieving pressure on the state's budget.

That's why you don't see very many privatized toll roads. The private company would have to charge huge fees just to make any money, if their only source of revenue was from individual users.

I have a problem when people attach the word "subsidy" to mass transit (not you, a lot of transit critics do), as if it's the only system that needs the government to help pay for it. If you use that broad definition, roads in Michigan are 100% subsidized. We are spoiled as a state and as a country believing that driving on highways is a free ride.
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Old 02-07-2009, 06:33 PM
 
5,114 posts, read 4,821,764 times
Reputation: 4380
Magellan, go tell someone receiving Social Security benefits that they're being subsidized. You'll probably come back with quite an earful about how they paid into the system earlier and now they're just getting back what's theirs. Social Security Benefits come from a special payroll tax, not from general funds.

The United States Federal Highway Trust Fund was originally set up to be like the Social Security system, with a dedicated tax designed to fund it. Prior to the HTF, the federal government disbursed road funding from the General Fund of the United States Treasury.

Parse words with me if you must, but I find that there's an enormous difference between specific taxes and fees being collected on activity that's directly related to the program being funded and disbursement of government money from general taxes.

But if you want to get into dueling definitions, here's the one from Wikipedia (Subsidy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia):

"In economics, a subsidy (also known as a subvention) is a form of financial assistance paid to a business or economic sector. A subsidy can be used to support businesses that might otherwise fail, or to encourage activities that would otherwise not take place." (emphasis mine).

Last edited by djmilf; 02-07-2009 at 07:01 PM..
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Old 02-07-2009, 06:58 PM
 
5,114 posts, read 4,821,764 times
Reputation: 4380
Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan View Post
However you slice it, transportation systems are subsidized by taxpayer dollars. Even airports. They are never paid fully by the individual users at the time of use. Your example of the toll road is perfect. That $20 you paid came nowhere near close enough to pay for the toll road's upkeep. But it's a way for the East Coast states to collect an additional revenue for the road upkeep, relieving pressure on the state's budget.

That's why you don't see very many privatized toll roads. The private company would have to charge huge fees just to make any money, if their only source of revenue was from individual users.
Magellan, you're wrong.

The New York State Thruway was financed by government bonds. These bonds were issued in the 1950's and were paid off with income earned from tolls, rents, and concessions. The bonds were paid off in 1997, but the toll, rents, and concessions remained to fund the Thruway. No government funding ever paid for the construction, maintenance or operation the Thruway.

The Mackinac Bridge was financed also by government bonds. These bonds were paid off in 1986 and the toll is still collected to pay for maintenance and repair of the bridge. Again, no government funding ever paid for the construction, maintenance or operation of the Mackinac Bridge.

The Ambassador Bridge that spans the Detroit River and connects Detroit and Windsor is a privately owned bridge. Built with private financing, it makes a tidy profit for its owner, Manual Maroun. In fact, I believe he wants to build a second bridge right next to the first. He's also fighting attempts to build a publicly financed bridge that would compete with the Ambassador Bridge. In this last example, no government funding was involved.

That's three examples, two public and one private, where the infrastructure pays for itself. And in the case of the private example, it also pays a nice profit to the owner.

The reason that you don't see private toll roads in the United States is that the state and federal governments want to retain control over the highways, not because they can't be privately built and operated at a profit.
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Old 02-08-2009, 07:26 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,872 posts, read 17,756,057 times
Reputation: 3838
Quote:
Originally Posted by djmilf View Post
Magellan, you're wrong.

The New York State Thruway was financed by government bonds. These bonds were issued in the 1950's and were paid off with income earned from tolls, rents, and concessions. The bonds were paid off in 1997, but the toll, rents, and concessions remained to fund the Thruway. No government funding ever paid for the construction, maintenance or operation the Thruway.

The Mackinac Bridge was financed also by government bonds. These bonds were paid off in 1986 and the toll is still collected to pay for maintenance and repair of the bridge. Again, no government funding ever paid for the construction, maintenance or operation of the Mackinac Bridge.

The Ambassador Bridge that spans the Detroit River and connects Detroit and Windsor is a privately owned bridge. Built with private financing, it makes a tidy profit for its owner, Manual Maroun. In fact, I believe he wants to build a second bridge right next to the first. He's also fighting attempts to build a publicly financed bridge that would compete with the Ambassador Bridge. In this last example, no government funding was involved.

That's three examples, two public and one private, where the infrastructure pays for itself. And in the case of the private example, it also pays a nice profit to the owner.

The reason that you don't see private toll roads in the United States is that the state and federal governments want to retain control over the highways, not because they can't be privately built and operated at a profit.
That's interesting info.

Whether the Detroit light rail line is the right thing or not, remains to be seen. I still maintain that most roads (in Michigan especially) are "subsidized" just as much or moreso than rapid transit. And they generally don't need to be completely rebuilt every 20 years.
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Old 02-08-2009, 07:20 PM
 
25 posts, read 96,759 times
Reputation: 24
Came across this when killing time on Wiki....

SEMCOG Programs and Projects
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Old 03-15-2009, 09:14 PM
 
5 posts, read 9,180 times
Reputation: 11
As I have read alot of comments about how people here Detroit feel about light rail going through the city and reigon I have noticed ALOT of people not really realizing the benefit to them and their pocket books form having a light rail system. I have lived in Portland Oregon for 5 years and I never had a car. It was much more affordable to spend a couple dollars to get to where I need to go (work, play, friends, grocery shopping,ect) than to pay 50 bucks for a tank of gas, car insurance, upkeep on a vehicle, or car payments. Its helps to keep the roads nicer because there are fewer cars on the road so less wear and tear on the roads and that means we don't have to pay for road improvements as often which is a savings. Since there is not as many cars on the road there is not as much carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere which is better for all our healths. The redevelopment of the radius around a light rail line tends to be very phenominal for the neighborhoods that they border and that trickles down the and revitalizes those blighted neighborhoods. It isn't to bring in white people which is something I have noticed being said by the African American community. Its to help all of us get our quality of life back to a safe and prosperous state.If we are going to move forward we totally need to make changes in ourselves and accept things like light rail. And not even just accept it, but embrace it. If all we are going to do is put down things like light rail based on no real evidence for why we are against it when its been tried not just once but many many times and everytime its tried its successful in revitalizing the areas that it is built, then we have no right to complain that our neighborhoods are filled with crime, blight, and decay. It also is not just the local government that is needed to make it a reality. It is also us as citizens that need to support the system in everyway we can. The defeatist attitude where people say It will never happen or Why put this in so we can take it out in 10 years? is exactlly why nothing happens here in Detroit. That unsupportive of the much needed action and underminds the efforts. And negitive emotion is like cancer and it spreads just like it. So if you have a few people saying how horrible this Light Rail line is then that just gonna spread causing a city full of grumpy gus's and all hope dies."Two decades after Portland, Ore., built one of the nation's pioneering light rail systems, mass transit there continues to expand, with 50% more track expected in the next 18 months. Encouraged by ridership numbers -- one rail line attracted 76% more users than the bus line it replaced -- city leaders are adding streetcars and commuter rail to the public-transportation mix. Each of Portland's four light rail lines came in at or under budget, and some $6 billion in development has sprouted along the rail corridor.""Though it is still six months from completion, a new light rail system in Phoenix has already sparked a development boom estimated at $6 billion. New condos, offices and mixed-use developments are rising all along the rail line"The Economic Benefits of Public Transit:Essential Support for a Strong EconomyData from the American Public Transit Association, Summarized by Transportation Riders United(Sources and additional resources below)The evidence is clear: to develop a sound and vibrant state economy and to enhance Michiganders' quality of life, Michigan must increase its investment in public transportation. Through increased jobs, income, profit and tax revenue, dollars invested in public transit provide an economic stimulus far exceeding the original investment. Studies estimate every dollar invested in public transit returns between four and nine dollars in economic benefit.Public transit creates jobs.Every $100 million invested in public transit creates and supports roughly 4,000 jobs.According to US DOT director Norman Mineta, every $1 billion invested in the nations’ transportation infrastructure supports approximately 47,500 jobs. Transit capital investment is a significant source of job creation. In the year following the investment 314 jobs are created for each $10 million invested in transit capital funding. Transit operations spending provides a direct infusion to the local economy. Over 570 jobs are created for each $10 million invested in the short run. Tri-Rail of South Florida expects its five-year public transportation development plan to spawn 6,300 ongoing system-related jobs. New York’s East Side Access project is expected to generate 375,000 jobs and $26 billion in wages. Public transit enhances productivity and reduces costs. Americans living in public transportation-intensive metro areas save $22 billion annually in transportation costs. The Altamont Commuter Express from Sacramento to San Francisco can cut annual commuting costs in half, from $5,300 to $2,700 annually. For every $10 million invested in public transit, over $15 million is saved in transportation costs to both highway and transit users, including operating costs, fuel costs, and congestion costs. In addition, efficient public transportation enhances access to opportunity, increases productivity, saves money, limits air pollution, decreases traffic congestion and protects personal freedom, choice and mobility.In short, public transportation is an investment in economic development and job creation that Michigan can’t afford to pass up. Public transit benefits local and state tax revenues.A typical state or local government could realize a 4 to 16 percent gain in revenues due to the increases in income and employment generated by investments in transit. The Washington Metrorail system is expected to generate $2.1 billion in tax revenues for Virginia over 30 years. Mixed-use development surrounding the Southwest Station in Eden Prairie, MN, will annually return over $400,000 in residential property taxes and nearly $300,000 in retail property taxes. Public transit boosts business revenues and profits.Businesses often realize a gain in sales three times the public sector investment in transit capital; a $10 million investment results in a $30 million gain in sales.In St. Louis, the public transit system modernization and expansion is expected to bring in $2.3 billion in business sales. Businesses located near the Dallas Area Rapid Transit light rail starter line have experienced a nearly 33% jump in retail sales in one year, compared to just 3% elsewhere in the city.
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Old 03-16-2009, 09:49 AM
 
25 posts, read 96,759 times
Reputation: 24
wow enter key much?

we have paragraphs for a reason

but good points nonetheless
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Old 03-16-2009, 12:46 PM
 
5 posts, read 9,180 times
Reputation: 11
Sorry I get rather passionate when I hear such negitive things about something as fantastic as light rail. I see all the crap that this city is in and I live here too. Precious little in this world works to the advantage of the citizens, but I have lived in a city where this system is a proven winner. Now that I back here and have no good means of getting around it stregnthens my belief that this is just what we need here more than ever. I have no job at the moment and have been desirately trying to get one. One of the biggest problems is that its to difficult to get to a job here in Detroit inwhich a light rail would be very helpful since I cannot afford to buy a car.
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:31 PM
 
6,791 posts, read 7,313,464 times
Reputation: 6973
Quote:
Originally Posted by mykel76 View Post
Sorry I get rather passionate when I hear such negitive things about something as fantastic as light rail. I see all the crap that this city is in and I live here too. Precious little in this world works to the advantage of the citizens, but I have lived in a city where this system is a proven winner. Now that I back here and have no good means of getting around it stregnthens my belief that this is just what we need here more than ever. I have no job at the moment and have been desirately trying to get one. One of the biggest problems is that its to difficult to get to a job here in Detroit inwhich a light rail would be very helpful since I cannot afford to buy a car.
I don't mean this in a rude way, but is it too late to edit it. It's hard to read without paragraphs, many people won't even try. It seems like you put a lot of thought into it, and it'd be a shame if your words just go to waste.
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Old 03-17-2009, 06:17 PM
 
5 posts, read 9,180 times
Reputation: 11
As I have read alot of comments about how people here Detroit feel about light rail going through the city and reigon I have noticed ALOT of people not really realizing the benefit to them and their pocket books form having a light rail system. I have lived in Portland Oregon for 5 years and I never had a car. It was much more affordable to spend a couple dollars to get to where I need to go (work, play, friends, grocery shopping,ect) than to pay 50 bucks for a tank of gas, car insurance, upkeep on a vehicle, or car payments.

Its helps to keep the roads nicer because there are fewer cars on the road so less wear and tear on the roads and that means we don't have to pay for road improvements as often which is a savings. Since there is not as many cars on the road there is not as much carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere which is better for all our healths. The redevelopment of the radius around a light rail line tends to be very phenominal for the neighborhoods that they border and that trickles down the and revitalizes those blighted neighborhoods. It isn't to bring in white people which is something I have noticed being said by the African American community. Its to help all of us get our quality of life back to a safe and prosperous state.If we are going to move forward we totally need to make changes in ourselves and accept things like light rail. And not even just accept it, but embrace it. If all we are going to do is put down things like light rail based on no real evidence for why we are against it when its been tried not just once but many many times and everytime its tried its successful in revitalizing the areas that it is built, then we have no right to complain that our neighborhoods are filled with crime, blight, and decay.

It also is not just the local government that is needed to make it a reality. It is also us as citizens that need to support the system in everyway we can. The defeatist attitude where people say It will never happen or Why put this in so we can take it out in 10 years? is exactlly why nothing happens here in Detroit. That unsupportive of the much needed action and underminds the efforts. And negitive emotion is like cancer and it spreads just like it. So if you have a few people saying how horrible this Light Rail line is then that just gonna spread causing a city full of grumpy gus's and all hope dies.

"Two decades after Portland, Ore., built one of the nation's pioneering light rail systems, mass transit there continues to expand, with 50% more track expected in the next 18 months. Encouraged by ridership numbers -- one rail line attracted 76% more users than the bus line it replaced -- city leaders are adding streetcars and commuter rail to the public-transportation mix. Each of Portland's four light rail lines came in at or under budget, and some $6 billion in development has sprouted along the rail corridor.""Though it is still six months from completion, a new light rail system in Phoenix has already sparked a development boom estimated at $6 billion. New condos, offices and mixed-use developments are rising all along the rail line"

The Economic Benefits of Public Transit:Essential Support for a Strong EconomyData from the American Public Transit Association, Summarized by Transportation Riders United(Sources and additional resources below)The evidence is clear: to develop a sound and vibrant state economy and to enhance Michiganders' quality of life, Michigan must increase its investment in public transportation. Through increased jobs, income, profit and tax revenue, dollars invested in public transit provide an economic stimulus far exceeding the original investment. Studies estimate every dollar invested in public transit returns between four and nine dollars in economic benefit.Public transit creates jobs. Every $100 million invested in public transit creates and supports roughly 4,000 jobs.According to US DOT director Norman Mineta, every $1 billion invested in the nations’ transportation infrastructure supports approximately 47,500 jobs. Transit capital investment is a significant source of job creation. In the year following the investment 314 jobs are created for each $10 million invested in transit capital funding. Transit operations spending provides a direct infusion to the local economy. Over 570 jobs are created for each $10 million invested in the short run. Tri-Rail of South Florida expects its five-year public transportation development plan to spawn 6,300 ongoing system-related jobs.

New York’s East Side Access project is expected to generate 375,000 jobs and $26 billion in wages. Public transit enhances productivity and reduces costs. Americans living in public transportation-intensive metro areas save $22 billion annually in transportation costs. The Altamont Commuter Express from Sacramento to San Francisco can cut annual commuting costs in half, from $5,300 to $2,700 annually. For every $10 million invested in public transit, over $15 million is saved in transportation costs to both highway and transit users, including operating costs, fuel costs, and congestion costs. In addition, efficient public transportation enhances access to opportunity, increases productivity, saves money, limits air pollution, decreases traffic congestion and protects personal freedom, choice and mobility.In short, public transportation is an investment in economic development and job creation that Michigan can’t afford to pass up. Public transit benefits local and state tax revenues.

A typical state or local government could realize a 4 to 16 percent gain in revenues due to the increases in income and employment generated by investments in transit. The Washington Metrorail system is expected to generate $2.1 billion in tax revenues for Virginia over 30 years. Mixed-use development surrounding the Southwest Station in Eden Prairie, MN, will annually return over $400,000 in residential property taxes and nearly $300,000 in retail property taxes. Public transit boosts business revenues and profits.Businesses often realize a gain in sales three times the public sector investment in transit capital; a $10 million investment results in a $30 million gain in sales.In St. Louis, the public transit system modernization and expansion is expected to bring in $2.3 billion in business sales. Businesses located near the Dallas Area Rapid Transit light rail starter line have experienced a nearly 33% jump in retail sales in one year, compared to just 3% elsewhere in the city.
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