Taxing for Transporation Costs

Paying for regular consumer goods, is pretty straight-forward, going to a store (or online, mail) and paying the listed price. Transportation is intricate; there are huge wants, but paying by each use, and through general tax means, is tricky. The BART lengthening, from Fremont to San Jose, is supposedly really wanted, but paying is difficult. The ticket price will be far from covering it, which is a pattern for projects.


Is it just,  to charge the whole Bay Area & even the nation, for rail that would be used by <3% of the commuters in 2 counties? There would be other riders too, perhaps each resident riding an average of 1/month. How about charging full price on each ticket?

Public transit is about 2/3 funded by general revenue taxes, which, on a per passenger-mile basis, is about at 5-20 times more than the cost of highways. Some claim that it is okay in paying others to get your of one’s way, as in removing drivers from roads. That is hardly the case, and, moreover, that would be like giving payouts to criminals to not steal your money. It’s common sense that for more people in an area, more cars will be on the road.

The remaining part of roads, that are paid for by fees & taxes, not tied to driving, are minimal. Some taxes, such as that on property, are tied into roads, as that roads are part of the necessary service that come with property, such as police, fire & basic city operation. The largest user of property taxes is education, which has no correlation. In fact, poorer families, especially immigrants, have more children & lower value property, on average. Of course that is a separate issue.

The gas tax, is one of the few taxes that is  purposely for a related item, and just. It is not direct on lane miles, but that can be seen as an added benefit to increase mpg. Snowmobile users & lawnmower users might complain, but that is minimal & there is a tie in with roads, too. If you don’t drive, you can avoid paying it. If you don’t ride transit, that is irrelevant, that funding comes from many sources, even gas taxes.

The portion of all gov spending is rather minimal, out of all, as seen on the chart at right, or rather, not seen, totaling less than $200 billion. Out of the $800 Stimuwaste Spending, less than 5% was used for infrastructure, which covers much more than just transportation. Lost opportunity. Good indication that it was not meant to really stimulate nor have value nor work. Crisis, to destroy economy more, while looking like attempting to help.

Higher gas taxes would be good to address the problem of insufficient highways. Adding freeway lanes is less costly and accommodates more travelers, than the same expense does for public transit. There is plenty need for more lanes, with there being even more cars than licensed drivers. For the few who do not own or drive a car, most do get rides from people at times, and have items delivered to their place. All products, sold at stores have been on highways. How do auto users want the “others” (<2% of population) to pay? How can they pay; they are usually jobless and otherwise have low income. Stats on VMT and public transit miles can be found atTTI, FHA and RITA. See this for data on how much more public transit is subsidized; The correlations are there.

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About Randall
A contrarian, not for conflict, but because many decisions are made, without considering the full impact & consequences.

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