Coastal Sense

Who pays for the roads? by drewwade
November 29, 2007, 10:34 pm
Filed under: Local Politics, National Politics, transportation | Tags: , ,

As someone who rides around the roads on his bicycle (a practice sanctioned by our legal system), I am sometimes faced with irritable attitudes from drivers who believe that their tonnage entitles them to ALL of the road, including my little 2 feet by the shoulder. The argument goes, “Well, I pay for my tag and I pay tax on gas to support the roads. You on your bike do nothing to pay for the road, and so you have no right to it.” The law states otherwise, though law enforcement in my experience tends to support the previous argument.

Well, someone actually studied whether tag and gas taxes pay for the roads. In fact, this study concludes, after examination of the direct and indirect costs of road building and maintenance, gasoline taxes would need to be increased by 20 to 70 cents per gallon for the roads to be a self sustaining venture. And so, in fact your and my property and income taxes pay a significant component of this infrastructure, to say nothing of my own automobile and gas taxes, since I too have a car and drive it.

So when folks in our government throw darts at even small measures designed to increase a low impact road use such as bicycling (and our own representatives vote nay on the same), it burns me up. However, we can get on the bandwagon here in Savannah and become a Bicycle Friendly Community, allowing us to become healthier individually and achieve greater connection to our community.  The economic benefits are real too, for if we make these quality of life improvements, we become a more attractive destination for businesses and individuals.


5 Comments so far
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Great post, Clint. You are 100 percent correct. Bicyclists and pedestrians pay too, even though our streets are too often designed to maximize the flow of motor vehicle traffic, which in turn makes them difficult, dangerous or impossible for pedestrians and cyclists to use.

Rather than viewing cyclists as irritants, I wish we could see them for what they are. Every bicycle on our streets means less competition for parking spaces, less wear and tear on streets and other infrastructure, less coolant and transmission fluid washed into the marsh, cleaner air, and a healthier population. To take it a step further, everyone who decides to go by bike is doing his or her (small) part to reduce fuel costs for folks who can’t or won’t leave their cars at home. After all, if everyone drives, demand for gasoline increases and prices rise.

Comment by John

[…] it with their tag and gas taxes, right? Not so, according to this study. As I have previously noted elsewhere, After examination of the direct and indirect costs of road building and maintenance, gasoline […]

Pingback by The Savannah Bicycle Campaign » Blog Archive » Attitude adjustment

Hey the link to that study isn’t working.
Where else can i find it?
Someone should inform this guy:
Whom holds all the stereotypes yet gets to air his rants to the media.

Comment by jman

Thanks for the heads up. I fixed the link (they moved it). Also, Streetsblog has a good rundown of studies here.

Comment by drewwade

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