Whether you choose to fix and repair current infrastructure or build altogether new is probably something best left to the regions where the work should done. But the question is in either situation how to pay for it.
As a motorist and a cyclist I am more than tired of the notion that seems to have gotten stuck in the heads of Urban Cyclists, that the only meaningful segment of the society whose income should be grabbed are those who drive. That is both unfair and silly. Motorists do not ever have a chance to ride on rails. And bridges and overpasses which carry freight and more commonly light rail are not really the responsibility of motorists.
Likewise trails in forest preserves are not the responsibility of motorists who are not even allowed on them. So why is the US Highway Trust Fund being offered up once again as the place to levy more taxes?
Where is it written that ‘thou shalt not ask mass transit riders to pay their fair share‘? Where is it written that not only should the municipality be allowed to commandeer ‘bike lanes‘ and that the money to do this should come out of the taxes levied against automobile fuel users? In fact it turns out that every gallon of gasoline used by cars, motorcycles and scooters as well as lawn mower operators is helping to pay for ‘bike trail and lanes‘.
Add to this the fact that every light rail user is getting their infrastructure improved on the backs of motorists. Something tells me that it is high time for a motorist Tea Party. If you want to rebuild your infrastructure you need to also be willing to pay what your service really costs. Right now mass transit riders fares are being subsidized on the backs of motorists. This should not be.
If you need money and the US Highway Trust Fund is inadequate to the purpose then I suggest at least two things be done:
- Require that mass transit users pay fares that are consistent not only with the daily operational costs of running the system but also its long-term maintenance
- Consider a lottery system (not unlike that for education) to help close the funding gap
There should be no taxation without some responsibility for the repair that is being undertaken with the funds. Motorists should not be paying for wholly other transportation modes that are not directly related to their wear and tear on the system.