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Funding roads (taxes, user fees etc)
#11
Sure, let's throw some more gasoline on the fire.

Nice roads are a subsidy for low-density development which locks the disadvantaged into a system which, should prices increase, will cripple their financial mobility even further.

Specifically: we have nice roads, so of course you don't need to build social benefit centres close to where people live. We have nice roads, so of course affordable housing doesn't need to be close to where people work. And if the gas tax goes up, or a toll is put in place, or some km-driven or road-impact based measure for usage is added, they will impact the poor with devastating effect and terrifying precision.

But the poor will pay, because they have no choice. The roads are already there, so the housing has already been built, the malls have already paved their parking lots, and the schools have already defined their catchments. They can't move closer and ditch their car. They can't buy a newer vehicle and dodge the gas tax. They're stuck.

This is the problem with consumption- or usage-based fees, and one of the key reasons behind progressive income taxation. When you are earning below the median income, HST and Gas Tax and Tolls and Mandatory Insurance and all the other frictional costs are going to take half of your income. (citation needed, sorry. I'm letting the rhetoric carry as I don't actually have data)

So whether you're talking Real World or Ideal World, consider the less fortunate in your plans for their future.
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#12
I think those are all really valid points.

I think the guaranteed minimum income is promising for addressing these types of problems and I think something like the "mileage based" tax is also helpful because we'd know exactly what each person is spending, and easily adjust that for income level.
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#13
(12-19-2016, 07:48 AM)Canard Wrote: And round and round we go. As others explained many times, it's hardly a "free ride" for motorists. Cars, and all the things that they come (insurance, fuel, etc.) with are expensive.

I really shake my head sometimes and wonder what kind of world a few of you grew up in that you think there should be no cars.

I’m talking about the stuff provided for free by all of us through our governments. When you can include road-use fee (to cover construction, maintenance, expansion, and congestion charging) in the expenses, then you get to say that it’s not a free ride. Until then, one of the most expensive components of a car-based transportation network most certainly is a free ride, and in fact what you mention about expense makes another of my points, which is that it is a free ride only for those wealthy enough to afford a vehicle and its attendant costs.

As for the second paragraph you might want to re-think. I’m looking at what I wrote and I’m not seeing how anybody could possibly think that I think there should be no cars. It’s just an utterly bizarre inference to draw from anything I wrote there. All I’m saying is that luxury goods should be provided on a user-pay basis. Uncongested roads in densely populated areas are indisputably a luxury good.
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#14
(12-19-2016, 07:48 AM)Canard Wrote: And round and round we go. As others explained many times, it's hardly a "free ride" for motorists. Cars, and all the things that they come (insurance, fuel, etc.) with are expensive.

I really shake my head sometimes and wonder what kind of world a few of you grew up in that you think there should be no cars.

Lets just be clear, the cost of something doesn't entitle anyone to better benefits. Cars are costly because they, as a vehicle, are designed to be costly. Some is out of necessity (you want a vehicle able to top out over 200kph, that can be a killer missile at fractions of that speed, yeah it will need some safety elements, and yes you will need to pay for insurance), some is your choice (I know many people who buy pickups that are used to ferry more than 2 people around maybe once every five years, rather than rent a pickup for those days and save tens of thousands, let alone when we want bluetooth connectivity or leather seats or better mileage), but in no way does that entitle anyone to a better version of a road. The $50 bike I pick up at a police auction gets me the ability to cycle on the same trails that someone investing four or five figures in a finely tuned bike gets. All taxes on every stage of cars or bikes (or anything) are taxes on general commercial activity, not an entitlement to better versions of a road or anything else (the gas tax being the one exception, though after having been frozen for a quarter century, certainly less so every year).
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#15
Here is a good post from City Observatory discussing the fact that motorists do not cover the cost of the roads they use, let alone all of the other costs associated with driving (air pollution and climate change, inefficient land use patterns, traffic injuries and fatalities).

It also talks about the fact that pricing roads makes them more efficient, but that isn't true in the same way for transit. And it addresses calls for pricing infrastructure for people on foot or bicycle- that absurd idea is sometimes proposed when someone hears an idea to ask motorists to pay for a bit more of the social costs they create.
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#16
(12-19-2016, 09:41 AM)SammyOES2 Wrote: Dan, the cities have the density and size to support transit IN SOME AREAS only.  And, as I mentioned before, in order to eliminate personal use you need to be able to meet a wide range of use cases - most importantly getting from living place to work place in a practical way.  That requires efficient transit options along the whole route.

As for the rest, I mean yes, I'm talking about the real world that we live in now.  If you want to argue that your system would work in some hypothetical world, then, sure, probably?  But its hard enough to know how things work in our current world where we can actually measure stuff.  I don't know how we figure out what works in hypothetical world that Dan is thinking about.

The cities have enough people to support transit in most areas.  The problem is these areas are designed to make transit use difficult (or more accurately, to facilitate single occupant communting).  The last mile problem has numerous solutions, but one that nobody here ever tried, is "put a sidewalk in a straight line from where people live to the transit stop".  

The point is, land use and transit are inexorably linked, but land use is a decision.  You're using our land use choices (which support and necessitate single occupant car use in many cases) to justify continued support for single occupant car.

I'm not suggesting that a vision of lower car usage is achievable in the near future, but if we reject it on face as an imaginary hypothetical world, we won't make progress.  We must begin to shift societal views, at the same time as we start to build out a new form of city, one which does support transit.

As for the fact that pricing these things have an affect on low income individuals, that's absolutely true.  It's part of the reason that this transit nightmare we've backed ourselves into over the past 60s years is problem.  If someone is suffering to afford a 2 dollar toll each day to work, I imagine they're also suffering to buy and maintain their vehicle, and to fuel it and insure it.  Wouldn't it be better if they had another option?  Short term pain will be worth long term gain, but I'm happy to hear options for easing short term pain that *don't* compromise the long term vision (like guaranteed minimum income for example).
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#17
ijmorlan: "Since the road is being paid for by everybody’s tax dollars, it’s perfectly reasonable for us to argue for efficiency improvements, even if it causes some inconvenience to those currently receiving the benefits of free roads. Beggars can’t be choosers … except when it comes to free roads, apparently."

I pay thousands of dollars in gas tax. Tens of thousands of dollars in property, income, and consumption taxes that go towards road development. Frankly, your continued use of "free roads" just tells me you're either disingenuous on this issue or not able to accept facts that contradict your beliefs. Either way, I don't really see much use continuing a discussion with you.
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#18
(12-20-2016, 11:55 AM)SammyOES2 Wrote: I pay thousands of dollars in gas tax.

The gas tax is 14.7 cents a litre. To pay two thousand dollars in gas tax, you would have to burn 13,600 litres of gasoline (I am assuming unleaded gasoline).
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#19
(12-19-2016, 03:31 PM)MidTowner Wrote: Here is a good post from City Observatory discussing the fact that motorists do not cover the cost of the roads they use, let alone all of the other costs associated with driving (air pollution and climate change, inefficient land use patterns, traffic injuries and fatalities).

It also talks about the fact that pricing roads makes them more efficient, but that isn't true in the same way for transit. And it addresses calls for pricing infrastructure for people on foot or bicycle- that absurd idea is sometimes proposed when someone hears an idea to ask motorists to pay for a bit more of the social costs they create.

Articles like this are the bane of my existence.  They're opinion pieces masquerading as reporting facts.

In this case, I agree with their point about not being efficient in terms of congestion, and reading through the linked CBO article, it looks like thats a point backed up by the data.

But then we get into:

"It’s also important to keep in mind that this report only addresses the direct financial costs to government for constructing and operating the highway system. There are also huge social and environmental costs—from air pollution, climate change, and injuries and deaths associated with crashes—that aren’t reflected in the prices that that roads users pay."


This is a favorite of these types of articles.  Instead of talking about costs/benefits and net costs, they just focus on the costs.  

"And—almost in passing—the CBO report casts doubt on the accepted wisdom that highway building triggers economic growth. They say: “Research suggests that increase in economic activity from spending for new highways in the United States have generally declined over time.” Translation: highway investment experiences diminishing returns. The nation gets a big gain from building the Interstate Highway system when there was none, but each successive increment to the system produces a smaller and smaller return.
"


This translation is fundamentally wrong.  The conventional wisdom IS that highway investment experiences diminishing returns.  But that doesn't change that they do provide returns.  And that in some cases you need investment purely to maintain the economic benefit you were previously getting.  That can still be a good investment.

After this we get into the bulk of the just non-fact based rambling.  The subway vs. highway argument about increased traffic is ridiculous.  In both cases you require a large capital increase to get the system started to support up to some level of capacity.  As you increase usage, you increase delays for everyone if you don't change the system (this is all obvious from looking at the NYC subway system).  They make the comment about increasing usage can decrease delays as more trains are run.  More trains being run requires a further investment of money!  The equivalent to the highway system would be that increased usage can lead to more lanes being added or bottlenecks removed and decrease congestion for everyone.

And of course with transit you get to a point where you can't handle the capacity with more trains and need to build more stations, enlarge stations, add new lines, etc.  All REALLY expensive things on par with building new highways or performing significant enlargement of highway systems.


Most importantly, the thing I'd like to see in an article like this is an actual comparison of the amount of subsidy the highway system is getting to the amount of subsidy the public transportation system is getting.
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#20
(12-20-2016, 12:14 PM)SammyOES2 Wrote:
(12-20-2016, 12:02 PM)MidTowner Wrote: The gas tax is 14.7 cents a litre. To pay two thousand dollars in gas tax, you would have to burn 13,600 litres of gasoline (I am assuming unleaded gasoline).


There is 27.9 cents/litre in tax in Ontario (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_fuel..._in_Canada).  

Between my two vehicles I average around 9L/100km.  And I probably drive 30,000km/year.  So, you're right I'm at $753.

Edit: Thinking about this more it's probably more like 9L/100KM, 40,000km/year for both me and my wife.  So that would put my share at: ~$500.

Also, there is a 24.7 cent/L gas tax in Ontario.  The remainder is HST, which is a sales tax applying to all products.  You couldn't escape paying that tax, except by saving your money (at which point you would simply pay it later).
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