-where does the money actually come from that builds and maintains roads? 100% TAX MONEY... AT LEAST $.50 OF EVERY GALLON OF GAS GOES TO "ROAD TAX". i KNOW YOU BUY GAS FOR YOUR CAR BUT YOUR BIKE IS A SEPERATE (sic) VEHICLE.
Oooh, ohh. Let me at this one.
The "Gas Tax" was instituted to pay for roads, that much is true. However, the tax has not kept pace with costs to the point now that most of the funding for the construction, maintenance and repair of roads come from the general funds. That means that even if I don't have a car and do not buy gas, I am still paying for most of the roads that you use.
But lets say, for example, that the tax did pay for the road and, as you suggest, since I use the road then I should also pay my share for it. I think that's fair.
What I also think is fair would be that the amount of wear and tear put on the road should be comparable to the amount of tax paid. Big heavy trucks cause a lot more damage than something like a compact car and so it's fair that they pay more. This is somewhat reflected in the gas tax in that larger vehicles have poorer gas mileage and thus end up paying more in taxes. Of course, that means electric cars and bicycles are going to get off scott-free, as it were. So, let's talk about a mileage tax. When you fill out your registration or get your car inspected, the state looks at your mileage. It seems fair then to pay on a per mile basis.
So, what should we pay per mile? Well, since heaver vehicles cause more damage, there should be a formula to balance that. Mini Coopers pay less, M1 Abrams tanks pay a lot. Highway engineers use just such a formula when they are building roads. They use the speed of the vehicles multiplied by the axle weight to the 4th power.
So, let's do some math.
Though cars can go very much faster than a bicycle, lets just talk about city or suburban driving. A car on city street might go about 25-30 mph while a bicycle tends to run at around 10 to 15 mph. Let's just say for simplicity that the car goes twice as fast as a bike. (remember that number)
Cars and bikes have the same number of axles (2) so we can ignore that number.
Now here's the big one. The average car in the US weighs 4,000 pounds. The average assumed weight of a person (used by engineers) is 180 pounds and a typical bicycle weighs around 30 pounds for a total of 210 pounds. That means the car is 19 times heavier than a bicycle and bicyclist.
Now, let's put it all together. Remember the formula: road damage equals speed times weight to the 4th power. That means 2 (the number of times faster that the car goes) times (19 (the number of times that the car is heavier) times 19 times 19 times 19) That means that the car causes 260,642 times more damage to the road than the bicyclist. Thus, to be fair, the car driver should pay 260,642 times the road tax.
What does the typical driver pay now? Well, the average number of miles driven per year (12,000) divided by the average gas mileage (25 mpg) equals 480 gallons of gas used per year. Multiply that by the 50 cent a gallon gas tax and the average car driver is paying only $240 a year in gas taxes. Personally, I think you're getting that on the cheap. But, if we insert the number we calculated above, the driver is causing 260,000 times the damage so the cyclist should be paying 260,000 times less. That's something less than a dollar every thousand years.
That's fair, right?