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Funding roads (taxes, user fees etc)
#16
(12-19-2016, 08:41 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, 10:55 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, 02:31 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, 11:14 AM)SammyOES2 Wrote:
(12-20-2016, 11:02 AM)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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#21
(12-20-2016, 11:17 AM)danbrotherston Wrote: @SammyOES  

I'm curious, do you disagree with the point that mass driving, especially in urban areas causes several huge negative external costs?  Does driving not cause pollution, injuries, deaths, urban sprawl and social problems.  If you want evidence for those things, I can provide sources.

And yes, they do provide benefits, but you again equate transit and mass motoring.  Mass motoring has these costs, mass transit doesn't, yet the provide the same benefits.

We *should* subsidize transit, because we *should* subsidize transportation because of all the economic benefits you continually point out.  We *shouldn't* subsidize automobile travel as much, because most of the benefits can be reaped through mass transit instead of mass motoring.  We get a far better ROI.

Dan, I agree there are significant costs.  Our disagreement seems to be on the significant benefits.  To claim that mass transit and mass motoring provide the same benefits is just obviously wrong to me.  Like, completely, obviously, wrong.  And this is coming from someone that has never driven to/from work.  I lived in NYC for a number of years and very rarely drove and now I work from home.

I'd even agree with your last statement in certain situations (mostly to do with population density).  But when you try to make it apply to something like the whole tri-cities I think you're fundamentally wrong.

Edit: I think pollution especially is a big problem.  That's why I'm a big fan of mass transit.  But fundamentally its also a different problem, and can be addressed through other means as well.
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#22
(12-20-2016, 11:20 AM)danbrotherston Wrote:
(12-20-2016, 11:14 AM)SammyOES2 Wrote: 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).


HST you have to pay on a tax you're forced to pay IS part of the tax, imo.  I don't really know why you'd think otherwise.

Let's put it this way.  If they abolish the gas taxes, people would pay 27.9 cents/litre less for gas.   

I'm obviously not counting the HST applied to the rest of the price of gas.  That portion I agree shouldn't be counted.
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#23
(12-20-2016, 11:29 AM)SammyOES2 Wrote: Edit: Because we don't have enough controversy ITT, its the same way I feel about paying for NEXUS.  I pay a fee and give the Government a bunch of information to have a reasonable experience at the airport.  At some point, the people that can't afford the fee or value their privacy are the ones stuck with a really shitty experience.

I agree somewhat.  While service standards shouldn't be tied to a person's income, I do feel the pain of a daily commuter who crosses the border.

What does bother me are the airport security "Fast Path" lines.  While a NEXUS cardholder has enhanced screening that I could see them having quicker access, certain Platinum credit cardholders doesn't receive any background checks done, but they get the same line by-pass features.

Its all about the $$$.  No different than those at amusement parks who are willing to pay twice the admission fee don't have to stand in lines.

Coke
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#24
(12-20-2016, 11:25 AM)SammyOES2 Wrote: HST you have to pay on a tax you're forced to pay IS part of the tax, imo.  I don't really know why you'd think otherwise.

Let's put it this way.  If they abolish the gas taxes, people would pay 27.9 cents/litre less for gas.   

I'm obviously not counting the HST applied to the rest of the price of gas.  That portion I agree shouldn't be counted.

That's an arguable conclusion I suppose.  As I said my argument is, if you spend that money elsewhere, you'll still be paying HST, so the government get's that money whether or not you buy gas.

If you're only including HST on the gas tax....well, that's such a small amount it isn't really worth arguing about, so I'll agree with that.

I'm still surprised you disagree with the benefits.  I am guessing it is because you think that transit cannot be competitive with driving.  But like I said, this is really to do with urban form an design.  Transit oriented design can make transit just as competitive as driving, in my opinion, and when that's the case, all the economic benefits opened by driving, are then available through transit as well.  The problem is, we have 60 years of building driving only oriented design.  Which leads to transit being terrible in many places, which I think is why you feel that transit doesn't provide the same benefits of driving.

I would also argue that the benefits of transportation cannot be sustained with driving either, take the GTA, you have a focus on driving only pretty much everywhere outside of Toronto. Huge massive roads, which are expensive and detrimental to the urban landscape, to the environment, to social and physical health. They make other forms of transit function terribly. And yet, we still have enormous traffic congestion, and thus lose the benefits of driving anyway. Driving anywhere in Mississauga took forever. So clearly the benefits are being watered down there.

Like I said, I realize that we cannot just flip a switch and undo 60 years of planning. But we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that, 60 years of work has gone into one solution, and we should be cognizent that limitations that might appear to be inherent to another form of transportation might simply be an artifact of that 60 years of designing exclusively for driving.
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#25
Trying to find actual information about subsidies of roads and found this: http://www.conferenceboard.ca/topics/ene...cture.aspx

It found that between 65-85% (depending on methodology) of road infrastructure costs are recovered from road users. They also have an interesting section on "Non-Infrastructure Costs".

On a side note, I found this report from: http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada...subsidized which is just another example of an opinion piece pretending to report on facts. Notice how they call out: "If we look at the total cost of driving, including vehicle costs, cost recovery will tend to be closer to 100 per cent". Which is just silly. It's a direct quote from the report, but leaves out the context where its pointed out that for a policy making perspective we don't care about things like vehicle costs because they're obviously borne directly by the users.
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#26
Keep in mind the Conference Board is a politicized entity largely skewed to make roads and cars look better than they are.
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#27
I honestly can't keep track of all of the biased agencies anymore. Sad.

But it's still a data point and one that seems plausible. I'm definitely open to seeing alternatives (and may go looking later).
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#28
(12-20-2016, 11:29 AM)SammyOES2 Wrote: Edit: Because we don't have enough controversy ITT, its the same way I feel about paying for NEXUS.  I pay a fee and give the Government a bunch of information to have a reasonable experience at the airport.  At some point, the people that can't afford the fee or value their privacy are the ones stuck with a really shitty experience.

I never thought about it this way!  We use NEXUS primarily for land crossings in the car.  Actually our cards just came up for renewal... I was quite surprised that there was no interview again - they just mailed us new cards.  I guess they know everything they need to know. Big Grin

(12-20-2016, 11:50 AM)Coke6pk Wrote: Its all about the $$$.  No different than those at amusement parks who are willing to pay twice the admission fee don't have to stand in lines.

As a theme park enthusiast I have such mixed feelings on this.  Most of the time I won't use these systems (and don't think it's fair), but in the same breath when I'm visiting a park far away I know I might only get to visit once in my life, and I've spent a couple of grand to get there for one specific coaster, and only have a couple of hours there... I'll absolutely pay another $50 or $100 to guarantee I'll be able to get on it.  But I'd never buy it at Canada's Wonderland (home park) - if it's busy, I just come back another day when it's dead...

(It's off topic but it's worth noting there are generally two different types of these queue-bypass systems - ones where you just pay to bypass the line entirely (Cedar Fair uses this system, since it's simple and usually done with a paper wristband, stamp, or lanyard/card) - and others use a true virtual queuing system (Disney, SixFlags), where you hold your place in line "virtually" and come back at a designated time. The advantage to the park operator here is that you're not stuck in line - you're out spending more money in their park at shops and restaurants! I have less of an issue with Virtual Queueing, and more of an issue with the pay-to-bypass systems.)


...Back on topic, we are nowhere near NYC in terms of transit.  It takes me 1h15 to take the Bus to work, and I have to hike a kilometre in the snow from the nearest stop to my office.  It takes me 15 minutes to drive, and the car is sitting in my driveway.  Why would I take the bus?

If we had PRT?  Or LRT to Cambridge?  Absolutely I'd look at taking transit.  I'd probably even be OK with spending more (buying a transit pass AND all the stuff I have to pay for to own a car - insurance, maintenance, etc.), because it'd feel good.  But you're asking people like me to give up way too much.  It just doesn't work for most people.  For the people it does work for, that's great!  If you live downtown and never want to leave KW, good on you.  For the rest of us?  Sorry, we need cars.
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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#29
On the subject of "pay for what you want" types of service.. what do people think about variable rate tolling of express lanes?

I've seen this in a few places in the US (Minneapolis and Texas come to mind) and it piqued my interest. It was $0.00 use in off peak when there's no congestion but as it gets busier, the price per unit of distance goes up.

Edit: I just relalized this is essentially how I use 407; I never take it, unless the 401 is so clogged that I'm willing to spend the cash to bypass it and have a relaxing drive.
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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#30
That's what the 407 does (https://www.407etr.com/en/tolls/rate-cha...light.html). It makes a ton of sense to me.
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