Friday, August 22, 2008

They're Everyone's Roads

That's the title of a letter to the editor of the Post in response to an earlier letter Sharing the Road But Not the Load. The earlier letter tried to propogate the myth that only motorists pay for our roads: "Kande Hooten [letters, Aug. 19] suggests that Tom Arundel should find another route if he dislikes having to share MacArthur Boulevard with bicyclists who won't use the adjacent path [letters, Aug. 15]."

"Who does she think pays for the roads she and other bicyclists ride on? People who drive cars. We pay taxes on gasoline and taxes on car purchases to provide federal and state funds for new and existing roads. Maybe we should institute a road tax on bicycles. Maybe they should have to be licensed and registered."

In They're Everyone's Roads Nancy Taylor of Bethesda points out that bicyclists and other non-motorists pay plenty of taxes for roads "...last year the [Maryland] General Assembly decided to allocate a portion of sales tax revenue to the transportation trust fund, meaning that every person in Maryland who buys a bell, book or bicycle contributes to maintaining state roads, even if that person doesn't own a car."

"Money to maintain county roads, such as MacArthur Boulevard, comes from a county's general fund, with property tax and local income tax being the biggest sources of revenue."

"Everyone who owns property or pays local income tax contributes to the maintenance of county roads, whether that person drives or not."

She goes on to point out that most bicyclists also own cars and pay related taxes. For an in-depth analysis of the topic see Whose Roads?—Defining Bicyclists' and Pedestrians' Right to Use Public Roadways published, a pdf document published by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute.

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