Bicycle Infrastructure ‘Low Investment’ but is it needed
April 26, 2010 by Truckdrivernews · 6 Comments
I never realized we even had a “bicycle infrastructure” as bicycles don’t run on any type of fuel in order to be taxed so it can be maintained.
So who is going to pay for this “project” that the Secretary of Transportation is saying is needed? Are they going to start taxing bike riders? Seems appropriate, they have thrown around the idea of building truck only lanes and charging a toll price to maintenance it. So why not for bicycles?
As long as trucks and the drivers didn’t have to pay for the bike paths in tax money, myself and a few million other drivers would not have a problem with it. The Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said on his blog site today: “Well, bike infrastructure is relatively inexpensive–particularly if you compare it to, say, adding a lane to an existing roadway.” and a few more lines down he says: “So, even for those folks who have no interest in bicycling, this relatively low investment actually pays dividends for those who still choose to drive. Everybody wins.”
Sounds to me like we will be paying for this “project,” as usual. I just don’t see enough people that are going to be riding their bicycles enough to justify everybody else paying for this. Now we can add to the list of things that are needed, but not a high priority – bicycle infrastructure – at this day and time. We already have billions spent on “mass transit” for state parks, and the train infrastructure of which only hauls about 13 percent of the freight.
What has trucking been given? A decree of banning a way for some truck drivers to operate their business. Also, talks about opening the border up to Mexican trucks, when clearly they (Mexico) have not proved they are ready to comply with our safety standards and legal to operate in the US. And some construction money for needed road improvements – oh wait, trucks paid for road improvements, so that one does not count.
I do appreciate the fact that Ray LaHood is seeing what truckers are saying online as he also mentioned in his blog post today: “I’ll say it again–because I want my online friends in commercial trucking and the people who make their living behind the wheel, to know–we are not out to make their jobs any harder than they already are.” But listening and doing is two completely different things.
I just don’t see how bicycles qualify higher on a list of “infrastructures” than trucks, or at least it seems that way with trucking not getting anything yet, but having things taken away. Safer and more parking is a must have thing at the moment, but it looks to be low on the list. Bridges need to be rebuilt so they can withstand the weights of trucks now, but it seems to be low on the list as well. Increasing the weight trucks can carry is NOT needed as it is and will be a safety concern. But it seems to rank higher on the infrastructure list.
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Bikers create a net savings to society by reducing congestion, and thereby air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. They generally live healthier lifestyles and reduce burdens on the healthcare system. Also, providing bike lanes is a safety measure as many people desire to commute to work by bike and without a lane must resort to busy streets in a society that is not yet adapted to having more and more bikers share the road with them.
JMbiker, thanks for the comment. Now don’t get me wrong I am all for the DOT looking out for bicyclist. But why should people that don’t ride bicycles have to pay for it?
If people who don’t ride bikes have to pay for the lanes through tax money then that would make bike riders getting a free ride so to speak. And neither cars nor trucks receive a free ride. Again I want to point out this is a good idea for the paths/lanes for bikes, its just the wrong time and it needs to be discussed how to pay for it. In my opinion there are more important issues that the DOT needs to address first.
I think its great that DOT is managing to include bikes among the many things it adresses at any given time.
And after mulling this over, I do actually agree that bikers should pay for their use of trails and seperate bike lanes, along routes where truckers and cars also have to pay. I’m thinking long-term and hoping that in the future there will be MORE bikers demanding these services. At some point a toll system would have to be introduced, and might as well start early – as long as the toll was appropriately matched to the construction and maintenance of the bike path. Might lead to nice bike paths as well
Thanks for the discussion.
As a cyclist, I pay a lot of sales taxes, property taxes etc. that fund my city. Most of my riding is on city streets in town, as opposed to county, state or interstate roads. My city roads are paid for by these taxes. For longer distance travel, my other bike is a full size Chevy van. I pay more than enough fuel taxes to compensate for any damage my bicycle may be causing the streets. I think it is fair that the road users that cause the most damage should pay the most for the upkeep of the roads. The heavier the vehichle, the more damage caused to the road, also, the more fuel needed to move the vehichle. Fuel taxes seem to be the way to go. I am aware that my spaghetti to fuel the bike is transported by truck to the store. I am also aware that the fuel costs, tax and all, are passed on in the price of my pasta, so don’t tell me I’m not paying my way when I ride.
Thank you B-Pollen for your comment with the attempt at a little comedy too. You obviously either didn’t read the whole article or you didn’t understand it. The article is questioning whether or not Truck drivers and Car drivers that don’t want to ride a bicycle or that can’t ride a bicycle do to the nature of some circumstances of their jobs, also people who can’t physically ride a bicycle should pay any extra taxes for this “project of Bicycle infrastructure.”
You’re right, Jason, there are more pressing issues for the D.O.T. to address than a cycling project. And frankly, why should we be taxed if we don’t or can’t ride a bike? My job makes it nearly impossible for me to have time to ride a bike even if I wanted to. I have enough road expenses as it is without adding this to the mix. Sure, cycling has huge benefits, but I am not adversely affected by it and therefore shouldn’t have to pay. Don’t we pay enough unnecessary taxes? Truckers pay enough in this industry including road expenses as it is. The bicycle industry should carry the weight of this.