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  #11  
Old 06-17-2011, 08:34 AM
Alan Alan is offline
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That's good advice, DMC, to just laugh at the phools, but I felt obliged to send a letter to The Columbian editors. They replied that it was too long. I need to get this down to under 200 words:

Shame on The Columbian for publishing hate letters such as Jim Souder's "Why are bicyclists not taxed?" of Thursday, June 16, 2011, filled with trite allegations long since proven false. Once again, let's debunk all of those claims:

"Why are bicyclists not taxed?"

I ride a bike sometimes so I suppose I am a "bicyclist," among other things. I also own property and motor vehicles, work, shop, recreate and pay taxes here. I know that other bicyclists pay taxes, too. So, bicyclists are taxed.

"Why does the general public dislike bicycle riders?"

I'm a member of the general public and I don't dislike bicycle riders. I don't think I am alone in that, and I'd even guess that a majority of citizens have no general dislike for most bike riders (certainly, rude individuals of any category incur disfavor).

"I will give you a few answers. Riders of bicycles seem to think that traffic laws do not apply to them ó they donít stop at stop signs, they ride on sidewalks and they also ride in traffic lanes, even if a bike lane exists."

Every day, vastly more motor vehicle operators violate traffic laws than do bike riders, and the results of their violations are far more damaging, costly and dangerous than those of bike riders. Watch a stop sign in your neighborhood; how many cars come to a complete stop? Bike riders, like car drivers, should obey the law. Most do, most of the time, to a reasonable degree.

Bicycles can be legally operated on either roads or sidewalks.

Washington (like most states) does not have a mandatory side-path law and bikes are legally allowed in car lanes, yet most bike riders use a bike lane if one is available and safe (many are poorly configured with gutters, drains and door-zone hazards outweighing any benefit).

"Why did our city spend my tax dollars on paint for bike lanes? Why did the city spend my tax dollars to place signs that tell me to 'Share the Road'?"

Your tax dollars, like mine, go into a pool which benefits us all. While we all have a say over who manages those budgets and how, we don't get to say how the particular dollars we contribute are distributed. Never have, never will.

"I would rather have my tax dollars be used to repair our streets in order that we who drive cars and pay the taxes can have a decent street to drive on."

Bike riders also like well-maintained paving. Bikes do very little damage to street paving compared to cars and trucks, so road maintenance costs due to bike usage is almost nil.

"Are bicycles taxed? No. Why not?"

Bicycle sales are taxed, just like car sales. Bikes don't pay license fees here, and most everywhere that has tried licensing bikes has found that any appropriate fees do not generate enough revenue to pay for the bureaucracy needed to administer and enforce the program. (For example, San Jose recently stopped licensing bikes, and there are many other examples of places where it hasn't worked.)

Moreover, automobile user fees (fuel tax, registration, tolls, etc.) cover only part of public road costs. For federally funded roads, about two-thirds of the cost is covered by user fees, the rest comes from general funds paid for by all tax payers. Car user fees cover an even smaller fraction of local roads, for example in Seattle, gas taxes pay for roughly four percent of road costs. Registration fees go to WSDOT for state roads, not cities, and again don't cover anywhere near the total road budget. So, we all pay for roads and those who don't drive or drive less (such as some who ride bikes more) end up effectively subsidizing those who drive more. Some sources for those facts are:

http://www.vtpi.org/whoserd.pdf
http://publicola.com/2010/08/31/we-a...for-the-roads/
http://www.uspirg.org/home/reports/r...tation-funding
http://www.grist.org/article/2010-09...ould-be-unfair

Of course, more bike riders also means fewer cars competing for space on the roads and parking spots, cleaner air, soil and water, healthier urban areas, healthier populace with lower medical costs and less use of scarce oil resources. But bike riders are still paying their share of taxes even when they aren't the ones incurring the costs.

Perhaps Mr. Souder might like to try a nice bike ride this summer, and I promise I won't even dislike him for it if I encounter him while I'm in my car.
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  #12  
Old 09-14-2011, 04:01 PM
Alan Alan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan View Post
Just filing another source in this thread, about how our roads are actually funded, for reference:
Keeping this list going after I hit max buffer size on that old post.
____________________________________________

14 September 2011

http://seattlelikesbikes.org/wordpress/?p=228 Cyclists must pay their “fair share?” cites the following:

1. http://subsidyscope.com/transportati...hways/funding/
2. http://www.txdot.gov/KeepTexasMoving...2006.html#Cost
3. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/gastax.cfm
4. http://www.columbian.com/news/2010/f...w-on-gas-fuel/
5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_Highway_System
6. http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/Viaduct
7. http://www.seattle.gov/transportatio...aintenance.htm
8. http://dor.wa.gov/Content/FindTaxesa...eductions.aspx
9. http://www.streetsblog.org/2009/09/1...ot-even-close/
10. http://www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/ftfacts.html
11. http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/publications...0/KeyFacts.pdf
12. http://www.stateline.org/live/detail...ontentId=89540
13. http://www.komonews.com/news/local/83561402.html
14. http://www.vtpi.org/tca/tca0506.pdf
15. http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Finance/budget/
16. http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Fil...tes/gastax.pdf
17. http://www.api.org/statistics/fuelta...mary_pages.pdf
____________________________________________

How Bikes Saved America’s Roads: A Historical Perspective
http://www.infrastructurist.com/2010...l-perspective/
excerpt from: The King’s Best Highway: The Lost History of the Boston Post Road, the Route That Made America by Eric Jaffe

____________________________________________
Feb 09 2012

Here's one for the motorists. He claims 22.0 cents per passenger mile in cars compared to 78 cents for buses. It's from 2007.
http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=88


"Inflation, not bike sharing, is why the gas tax isn't enough" - September 7, 2011
http://greatergreaterwashington.org/...x-isnt-enough/



"Analysis Finds Shifting Trends in Highway Funding: User Fees Make Up Decreasing Share" - November, 2009
http://subsidyscope.org/transportati...ding/analysis/



____________________________________________
Mar 01 2012

http://wiki.pavementinteractive.org/...urth_Power_Law
"...as a rule-of-thumb, the damage caused by a particular load is roughly related to the load by a power of four..."

http://onlinemanuals.txdot.gov/txdot...ual_notice.htm
- Pavement design guide

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/job...zi-scheme/242/
- How Suburban Sprawl Works Like a Ponzi Scheme, Kaid Benfield, Oct 04, 201

http://www.strongtowns.org/
"Announcing Strong Towns, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization focused on the root of these systemic problems: our land use patterns—the way we have designed our towns and neighborhoods."

____________________________________________
31 May 2012

http://www.toronto.ca/budget2005/pdf...censingcyc.PDF2005 BUDGET BRIEFING NOTE - Licensing Cyclists and/or Bicycles
Conclusions:
• Bicycle licences are not effective in preventing bicycle theft;
• A cyclist operating licence is not required for police officers to enforce the existing traffic
rules;
• Developing a cyclist testing and licensing system would be expensive and divert attention
from enforcing the existing traffic rules for cyclists; and
• Providing more resources for cyclist education and training and increased police enforcement
would be a more cost-effective approach for improving safety.

http://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/inv...k-three-to-one
Based on conservative assumptions, for every pound spent on cycling the Government benefits by three pounds. If the benefits are sustained over 30 years the benefit to cost ratio may be as high as five or six-to-one.
____________________________________________
25 June 2012

http://thecaseforcycling.com/ "This site is a joint project of Portland Transport, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, BikePortland, Portland Afoot and AROW and has been created to serve as a compendium of the best research and arguments supporting cycling as a positive force in urban livability, health and prosperity."

____________________________________________
30 June 2012

http://bikestylespokane.com/2012/06/...ets-we-all-do/ "Who Really Pays for Streets? We All Do." Published June 18, 2012 by Barb Chamberlain. Excellent article on the topic with further references, e.g.:
http://spokanestreets.org/?page_id=113
http://financecommission.dot.gov/Doc...t_Mar09FNL.pdf -- “fuel taxes and other direct and indirect user fees currently account for less than 60 percent of total system revenue (federal, state, and local), so that users do not bear anywhere near the full costs of their travel”
http://www.brookings.edu/research/op...aveled-puentes
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinform...2010/fe210.cfm
____________________________________________
07-03-2012
http://www.city-journal.org/2012/22_...s-transit.html - Josh Barro - "Transit advocates aren’t incorrect when they grumble about road subsidies. But if they really want American mass transit to work better, they’re missing the key target. A much smarter approach would be three-pronged: reduce subsidies, allow looser urban zoning, and get transit costs down."

____________________________________________
07-11-2012
Drifting off topic but Good Stuff about how bike facilities work fine with commerce/business zones:

http://spacingvancouver.ca/2011/07/2...ed-bike-lanes/ - "Vancouver’s Hornby and Dunsmuir Separated Bike Lanes: Ridership Climbing, Business and Auto Impacts Negligible"

http://www.streetsblog.org/2011/08/1...ed-bike-lanes/ - "Study: Vancouver Merchants Badly Misjudge Effect of Protected Bike Lanes"
____________________________________________
08-26-2012
San Diego plans to remove bike licensing ordinance; links to Huntington, Los Angeles, San Jose, Long Beach and Santa Monica removing their bicycle license laws:
http://www.bikesd.org/2012/08/02/cit...g-requirement/
http://bicycling.com/blogs/roadright...cense-to-ride/
http://bicycling.com/blogs/roadright...nse-to-ride-2/
____________________________________________
09-12-2012
http://dc.streetsblog.org/2012/09/11...eped-spending/

"While anyone can easily find in granular detail anything they would ever want to know about where bike/ped money goes, and they can get a pretty good idea of what’s going on with transit capital investments, highway spending is a black box — and that’s 80 percent of U.S. transportation dollars."
____________________________________________
01-22-2013
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-0...secretary.html

"Congress and Obama’s administration in June reached a two- year deal on roads and transit. Instead of raising the U.S. gasoline tax, the largest source of revenue for road, bridge and transit spending, the legislation used $18.8 billion in general taxpayer money, in addition to fuel taxes, to keep spending at current levels -- about $52 billion a year -- through fiscal 2014."

"The president hasn’t specified ways to pay for the plan. LaHood and the administration have opposed raising the 18.4 cents-a-gallon U.S. gasoline tax, which has been the main source for highway, bridge and transit expansions since the 1980s. The levy hasn’t been raised since 1993 and isn’t indexed for inflation."

____________________________________________
01-23-2013
http://dc.streetsblog.org/2011/01/04...or-themselves/

"Since 1947, American highways have run up a deficit bigger than $600 billion, in 2005 dollars. "



____________________________________________

thread jump (opens in new browser tab)

grep bait: road taxes, bike taxes

Last edited by Alan; 03-03-2013 at 08:53 AM.
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  #13  
Old 09-15-2011, 09:41 AM
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Haven_kd7yct Haven_kd7yct is offline
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Alan, I really liked your rebuttal to the Columbian letter to the editor. I don't see how you can get it down to 200 words, it's all very good info!

I would suggest going for the meat-and-potatoes:

"Bicycle sales are taxed, just like car sales. Bikes don't pay license fees here, and most everywhere that has tried licensing bikes has found that any appropriate fees do not generate enough revenue to pay for the bureaucracy needed to administer and enforce the program. (For example, San Jose recently stopped licensing bikes, and there are many other examples of places where it hasn't worked.)

Moreover, automobile user fees (fuel tax, registration, tolls, etc.) cover only part of public road costs. For federally funded roads, about two-thirds of the cost is covered by user fees, the rest comes from general funds paid for by all tax payers. Car user fees cover an even smaller fraction of local roads, for example in Seattle, gas taxes pay for roughly four percent of road costs. Registration fees go to WSDOT for state roads, not cities, and again don't cover anywhere near the total road budget. So, we all pay for roads and those who don't drive or drive less (such as some who ride bikes more) end up effectively subsidizing those who drive more. "
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  #14  
Old 09-15-2011, 11:35 AM
Alan Alan is offline
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Thanks, Haven, that's a really good condensation of what I wanted to say, and I might just crib it in the future. I didn't get my reply edited down in time but fortunately two other Columbian readers did respond eloquently a few days after that misinformed post:

http://www.columbian.com/news/2011/j...irly-maligned/
http://www.columbian.com/news/2011/j...pay-taxes-too/

Those both made the deadtree edition.
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  #15  
Old 09-16-2011, 11:36 AM
t27 t27 is offline
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Default Raod Tax Misconceptions

Even most cyclists donít understand taxes and insurance. It is not because you also own a car that you pay road taxes it is because you own or rent property and pay income taxes. Here is why:

Most roads are constructed by private developers who pass the cost onto the business and individuals that buy the property. You pay for this in the purchase price of your home, your rent, or consumer product retail prices.

Many other roads actually predate the automobile and automobile taxes. Most downtown city streets and county road right of way was established by 1910. Long before the widespread use of the automobile. Horses, oxen, street cars and bicyclists all outnumbered cars.

General fund tax money is used for street maintenance and upgrades, while vehicular and gas taxes are used only for roads. You pay for this with your property and income taxes. If you donít use a car you are subsidizing those that do.

Cyclist liability is covered under their homeownerís and renterís personal liability insurance, but they are so unlikely to need this coverage that most cyclists donít even know they have it. About 10% of drivers donít have insurance and they know they are required by law to have insurance.

Please help educate others on how roads are funded.
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Old 09-16-2011, 11:52 AM
Alan Alan is offline
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Thanks, t27, that's a good summary. My purpose for collecting all those URLs is to provide authoritative references to back up those statements.
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  #17  
Old 01-23-2013, 08:19 PM
Alan Alan is offline
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Default on and on and on and on...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan View Post
Keeping this list going after I hit max buffer size on that old post.
Hit maximum post size again--10,000 characters I think it said. On I go!
____________________________________________
23 January 2013

http://dc.streetsblog.org/2013/01/23...road-spending/

"A new report from the Tax Foundation shows 50.7 percent of America’s road spending comes from gas taxes, tolls, and other fees levied on drivers. The other 49.3 percent? Well, that comes from general tax dollars, just like education and health care."

http://taxfoundation.org/article/gas...-road-spending

"Nationwide in 2010, state and local governments raised $37 billion in motor fuel taxes and $12 billion in tolls and non-fuel taxes, but spent $155 billion on highways.[3] In other words, highway user taxes and fees made up just 32 percent of state and local expenses on roads. The rest was financed out of general revenues, including federal aid."

"[3] See U.S. Census Bureau, State and Local Government Finances by Level of Government and by State, 2009-10, http://www.census.gov/govs/estimate/."
____________________________________________
2 March 2013

About 38% of the $10 billion Washington State DOT budget comes from gas tax (25%), fees and registration (10%) and state ferry tolls (3%).

(13 May: WSDOT chart and URL have moved, the links were: URL="http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Finance/budget/BudgetPieCharts.htm", IMG "http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/9F0387AA-6990-4FC3-AD40-EB7ECB8E6337/0/TranspBudgetRevPiesJune2012Frcst.gif")

Besides supporting a $25 tax on new bike purchases to fund highways, Washington Rep. Ed Orcutt (R, Kalama) also says, "bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride." It's true, we due emit CO2 but it's much less than traveling the same distance in a car, about 21 g/Km biking, 271 g/Km by car.
____________________________________________
3 March 2013

Vehicle Weight and Road Damage

by admin on December 2, 2009

Heavy trucks obviously cause more road damage than cars, but how much more? According to a GAO study, Excessive Truck Weight: An Expensive Burden We Can No Longer Afford, road damage from one 18-wheeler is equivalent to 9600 cars (p.23 of study, p.36 of PDF).

The study assumed a fully loaded tractor-trailer at 80,000 pounds, and a typical passenger car at 4,000 pounds. That’s 20 times difference in weight, but the wear and tear caused by the truck is exponentially greater.

Food for thought: a bicycle and rider at 200 pounds is the same 20 times less heavy than a 4000 pound passenger car. Similarly, the wear and tear caused by that bike and rider would be exponentially less than a passenger car’s.
"If it’s $1/year for a bike, it would be $9600/year for a car. The semi truck would pay $92,160,000. And that’s not even factoring in mileage..."
____________________________________________
9 March 2013

http://www.portlandonline.com/index....383750&c=57785 - PBOT F.Y. 2012-13 Requested Budget. 216 page formal document (image, not text, format). Page 5 & 6 of the paper document, page 8 & 9 of the electronic (w/ pie chart) says: PBOT's FY 11-12 resources are summarized in Figure 1...Gas taxes and parking revenues provide the largest source, about 38% of the total...The remaining funding is provided by a variety of customers that purchase Bureau of Transportation services, such as other City bureaus, or is obtained by the Bureau of Transportation, often in the form of federal, state and local grants...

http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transp...article/421323 - PBOT Business Plan. Five slide presentation deck, notably with "Transportation resources and requirements" has graphs for those two "pies" breaking out revenue sources and commitments (35% of funding from gas taxes, fees and parking).

The Elephant in the Bedroom: Automobile Dependence & Denial : Impacts on the Economy and Environment by Stanley I. Hart and Alvin L. Spivak - Recommended by 'ws' in a thread on bike evangelism. I (Alan) have not read it, but it does remind me to throw in a quick reference to urbanist works by Simon Gideon, Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier (those for a historic 20thC note), Jane Jacobs, Kevin Lynch, Rob and Leon Krier, Colin Rowe, Robert Venturi, Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Richard Sennett's The Fall of Public Man, and those are just off the top of my head; I'll add more as I think of them.
____________________________________________
18 March 2013

http://www.vtpi.org/affordability.pdf

Transportation Affordability
Evaluation and Improvement Strategies
25 February 2013
Todd Litman
Victoria Transport Policy Institute
____________________________________________
21 March 2013

What share of road spending in Oregon is covered by general taxes (as opposed to user fees)? (Answer: 64%)
____________________________________________
13 May 2013

Who Should Pay for Transportation Infrastructure? What is Fair? by Todd Litman

"For both fairness and economic efficiency sake, roadway user fees, including fuel taxes, road tolls and parking fees should be raised to pay a greater share of road and parking facility costs. In this context, proposals to tax bicyclists are unfair and a distraction from a serious discussion of transportation finance."


____________________________________________
22 July 2013

Chuck Mahron's Strong Town's blog: http://networkedblogs.com/Ni5hv
"Why Suburban Growth Is a Ponzi Scheme" from Streetfilms: http://vimeo.com/69602304
____________________________________________
28 July 2013

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/...ransportation/

Slightly off-topic of bikes paying for roads, this blogger sets out the proposition that biking is safe by using financial analysis including the bike rider's lifespan. He backs it all up with solid, sane references. While I found it a bit whacky in my initial reading, it does make sense and keeps coming back to me in other reflections. A couple quotes for flavor:
Riding a bike is not more dangerous than driving a car. In fact, it is much, much safer:

Under even the most pessimistic of assumptions:
Net effect of driving a car at 65mph for one hour: Dying 20 minutes sooner. (18 seconds of life lost per mile)
Net effect of riding a bike at 12mph for one hour: Living 2 hours and 36 minutes longer (about 13 minutes of life gained per mile)
...and...
Given these final adjustments to the data, I close the article with my own best estimates:

Biking vs. Driving

Driving a car at 70MPH for one hour:
20 minutes of lifespan erased
$35.00 per hour of money burned

Riding a bike at 12MPH for one hour:
4.5 hours of lifespan gained
$100 of monetary gains secured

On a Per-Mile Basis:
Car: Lose 50 cents and 18 seconds of life
Bike: Gain $8.33 and 1350 seconds of life
____________________________________________
12 Nov 2013: Do bikes get a free ride? Advocates' infographic shows why not

"...we seem to be approaching a point at which local transportation funding will be forced to change, due to falling gasoline consumption and rising construction costs.

"As for the facts of the infographic, there are some wrinkles: In the City of Portland, unlike in many other cities, the local transportation budget comes almost entirely from auto-related fees. That's why our unusual success in reducing auto dependence over the last 17 years has been so rough on the city's street budget."
____________________________________________
10 Dec 2013:

Mythbusting: Exposing Half-Truths That Support Automobile Dependency, by Todd Litman

Portland's 2030 bike plan would cost "$6 to $25 annually per capita, a small fraction of the approximately $665 per capita spent annually on roadways."
____________________________________________
cont'd below...

grep bait: road taxes, bike taxes

Last edited by Alan; 02-05-2014 at 11:27 AM. Reason: piling it on
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  #18  
Old 01-23-2013, 11:08 PM
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Default Thanks for keeping this active...

I'm sorry I've been a bit too busy to post... lately. I've been quietly feeding Jonathan interesting story tidbits I find online. Due to my studies, and the distance involved in getting to and from school, my riding has been very limited of late. Hopefully I'll be able to change that after I graduate.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:49 PM
Alan Alan is offline
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Default /me waves

Hey K'Tesh! Nice to see you! Yeah, things are a little quiet after the forums were turned back on, but that's understandable. It's a good thing for school to be engaging, so I fully understand your priorities, and I see you comment on Jonathan's articles occasionally so I know you're around.

Speaking of regulars here, I also saw Lynn mention that she had a hard encounter with a car. I'm very glad she came out of it with relatively minor injuries but too bad about the nice Riv Bleriot. I'd say "get well soon" but seeing as she's already cranking out 200kms, I think that is overcome by events.
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  #20  
Old 01-25-2013, 09:17 AM
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Default I'll be ok. Eventually

Thanks for the good wishes.

The knee is still tender on the kneecap, and the whole left side musculature is not back to where it should be.

Yes, I am cranking out 200kms. The first try was a fail at 86 miles. The next weekend was better.

But you know, I have not commuted to work since then. I can claim freezing fog (I work in Hillsboro at the Intel Fog Generator Machine) and effort to get another bike ready to commute on (borrow 700c generator wheel, buy new rear wheel because the freewheel checked out), but really, I am feeling just a tiny bit chicken.

Next week. Yeah.
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