Fewer Cars : Be Careful What You Ask For


Background Reading

Lincoln Mileage 1980sGas tax revenue decreases mean that the Federal Highway Trust Fund is in jeopardy. Tax revenue has been decreasing commensurate with increase in overall fuel efficiency ratings. Currently the high end Lincoln MKS is rated at 47 MPG highway a very far cry from the Lincoln Town Car of a few decades ago.

In addition the number of folks taking alternative transportation modes has increased which further erodes the fund. And without that money government is forced to either raise the per gallon rates or find a new means of calculating the tax based upon something like mileage.

Gabe Klein said. “We have to stop thinking about moving vehicles and start thinking about moving people.’’ That logic cuts both ways. It means that within city limits we have to consider all forms of transportation. And where federally funded roadways are concerned we have to consider the people using them rather than the vehicles and their gas mileage.

This is especially true when car owners are opting to ride their bikes to work to save a few bucks and to improve their quality of life. It means that as a result the roadways we all rely upon for commerce and travel are underfunded to an even greater extent. Somebody has to pay. There are no logical candidates to pay for the bicycle only stop lights that are on Dearborn Street except cyclists. Those signals are not required in a world in which Vehicular Cycling is taught an cyclists merely use the roadway as would automobiles.

The more specialized the roadway accoutrements the more likely it will be deemed the responsibility of cyclists to foot the bill. That of course means that from somewhere in the tax code of states will need to come a portion from cyclists.

How About Bridges And Tolling?

One thing that cars are used to is paying tolls for using either highways, tunnels or bridges. It looks as if there are rumblings for bikes to do the same. Why? Because the number of riders is decreasing but the maintenance costs of these structures are not. Governing bodies need to do the hard job of thinking not about how much to charge per vehicle but rather how much to charge per person. Looks as if Gabe’s message cuts both ways.

If cyclists truly want to be considered partners on the roadways and they want the emphasis to be on people rather than vehicles then they should welcome the chance to help foot the bill for bridge maintenance. That is only fair.

The essence of cycle commuting should not be about avoiding participation in one’s civic duties but rather embracing them.