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Re: OT: Politics [Was:Social Contract]



On Monday 01 May 2006 22:55, Roberto C. Sanchez wrote:
> Paul Johnson wrote:
> > You directly benefit (even without kids) by being surrounded by
> > (relatively) educated people.  Just like freeways:  While bicycles may be
> > allowed on most of them, odds are bicyclists are paying for miles of
> > urban freeway that is closed to bicycles.  Is it fair that people who get
> > around by bicycle on roads that, in many states they have a
> > constitutional right to ride on, have to pay for freeways that you have
> > to earn the priveledge of a driver's license to use?  Yes, because odds
> > are they indirectly benefit by the freeway being there by the
> > availability of goods that would otherwise be stuck at the rail depot,
> > seaport, or entirely different city without urban freeways.
>
> I'd like to know how cyclists pay for highways.  IIRC, nearly all
> federal highway money comes from gas taxes.

However, federal money only pays for Interstate freeways these days, and not 
always the bridges (as Washington and Oregon discovered with the Glenn L 
Jackson Bridge).  In Oregon, about 35% of all highway dollars come from gas 
tax.  The rest is from the general fund.  Oregon is atypical: Most states 
don't get nearly that much money from gas tax, Oregon has a steep gas tax.[1]

> In addition, many states 
> use tolls to fund road projects (e.g., Florida, Kansas) or insanely high
> vehicle registrations (e.g., Georgia).

Oregon has at times, considered progressively pricing vehicle registrations by 
requiring an extra fee for studded snow tires (they eat the road and are 
usually used by people who almost always drive in the Willamette Valley, 
which is barely above sea level and rains frequently, but rarely snows.  
Studded snow tires damage pavement and reduce traction by about 30% in 
studies under dry or rainy conditions (opposed to icy/snowy, the conditions 
tire studs give you better traction in)).  Another proposal would have had 
flat registration fees up to 4000 pounds GVW, with a per-pound fee rounded 
off to the next higher 100 pounds after that (heavier vehicles generally get 
worse mileage and wear the roads down considerably more than lighter vehicles 
like compact cars and bicycles).

> So, based on your argument, you 
> think that the government taxes everyone equitably to pay for roads that
> are not equally used by everyone.

Because it does happen that way.

> Actually, if roads are any 
> indication, then we would be far better off going to something akin to
> private education.  That is, pay for what you use. 

That would be true if more than 20 miles of Oregon highway were toll road.



[1] The only reason we're paying less than Washington State at the pump is 
because we prohibit self-service gasoline, which costs far more in liability 
insurance compared to mini-service[2] or (the far more rare here) 
full-service station.  For some reason, mini-serve stations that have charged 
mini-serve rates in Washington haven't lasted long: I guess Vancouver just 
likes paying more to do the gas station's job for them...

[2] For those who have only seen full service and self service stations... the 
difference from self service is someone pumps the gas for you, and they 
double as your cashier: leaving the vehicle is optional.  The difference from 
full service is you don't get your tire air pressure, engine oil level, or 
lights checked, they don't wash your windshield and tips aren't expected.  
All they do is clear the line as fast as humanly possible at mini-serve, 
except at Arco and Texaco, which cripple efficiency and make people wait in 
line to get gas to force people into the store to pay.  Arco is slightly 
understandable, especially at truck stops (a truck stop with an Arco is 
gauranteed to be the cheapest gas in about a hundred miles in this region), 
since they're making most of their money as a convenience store or highway 
rest area, not as a fuel island.  Texaco is just lousy service, given most of 
their locations don't have a store, but they still expect you to go walk into 
the garage to pay...)

-- 
Paul Johnson
Email and IM (XMPP & Google Talk): baloo@ursine.ca
Jabber: Because it's time to move forward  http://ursine.ca/Ursine:Jabber

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