- Beyond Traffic (PDF)
Poor Ben Adler. He sounded so despondent the other day when we learned that he is not even going to bother reading the ‘Beyond Traffic‘ draft report. It seems that what has him bummed out is the fact that his ‘trust fund‘ is ‘going soft‘.
Like so many in his generation he decries the fact that the automobile drivers of America are not driving enough miles or being taxed enough to fund the pet projects he wants to see put into place. But the irony is that every time we raise the fuel tax to help pump money into the coffers for infrastructure maintenance and such we help drive down the attractiveness of driving and that means we only have to return a few years later to try and squeeze that much more money out of motorists.
Why not simply stop the whining and indeed define a new revenue stream. We already know that the single largest contributing factor to the decline in safety on our streets and highways is alcohol. So why not tax the hell out of it?
Pick a target amount that we all want to see brought into the coffers for trails, bike lanes and such and then add up the costs of repairing bridges and overpasses. And finally figure out how much money we need to extend mass transit out towards the suburbs so that the poor can find employment.
Okay, now we need to find a formula which takes into account the monies already been collected for fossil fuels and make certain that the taxation on alcohol matches that amount. And I am guessing that like fossil fuels you will have local, state and federal levels of taxation. It is the latter that we should use along with its fossil fuel equivalent to fund all transportation projects.
This is going to mean that for Urban Cyclists getting drunk and riding home on their bikes is no longer just something really stupid to do on a Friday, but rather their patriotic duty! Of course we will all have to cut drunk motorists some slack too. This is after all going to be ‘shared sacrifice‘.
Finally, as we discover that the trust fund is need of shoring up we should adjust the taxes on both fossil fuel and alcohol to compensate for any losses.