“… I would like to see, even if it’s just a token registration fee, or some mechanism to go to the bicycle community, and say OK, you need to pay a share of the cost of providing those facilities
— Tom Hughes, candidate for Metro President
Hughes’ comment came during the Q & A session of a candidate forum at the Rose City Park Neighborhood Association on October 30th. Hughes was asked a question by Terry Parker (a somewhat infamous and prolific citizen activist known for his ‘bicyclists are freeloaders’ diatribes) who asked about tolls on the Columbia River Crossing project. Parker said the tolls were “being placed on the back of the motorists and it seems like the tolls ought to be spread out among all the users.” He then asked Hughes what he thought of tolling on the CRC project.
After Hughes explained why he’s “in favor of moving forward with the project as proposed,” he addressed Parker’s concern about the tolls and offered his desire for a bike registration fee:
“I’m like you a little bit though, I think one of the frustrations that a lot of us have about the expansion of the bicycle system in the city of Portland and around the region, is that it appears that the bicycle folks don’t contribute. So I would like to see, even if it’s just a token registration fee, or some mechanism to go to the bicycle community, and say OK, you need to pay a share of the cost of providing those facilities.”
The comment comes at about the 9:10 mark of the video below…
The problem with Hughes’ perspective on this policy, is that while the perception is that bicycle operators don’t pay their fair share, the reality is that people who use a bicycle for the majority of their transportation needs actually subsidize motor vehicle operators. For more on how that works, read this excellent Grist column that debunks the “bicyclists don’t pay their fair share” myth.
Hughes is running against Bob Stacey and the race is expected to be very close. Hat tip to Bob Richardson of Portland Transport, who lives in Rose City Park and who shot and published the video above (as well as video of Stacey from the same event).