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The CMM‘s push for more transit money would mean transferring $1.5 billion from road construction to public transit.
ant6n, jeather, and walkerp are discussing. Toggle Comments
It’s a good thing that public transit doesn’t need well-maintained roads. Public transit should get more money, but I hope it’s at the expense of new roads, and not of maintenance of current ones. (Yes, even non-drivers need roads — it’s not like food is all produced on the island, cotton isn’t grown here, police cannot materialize instantly and so on. It’s a bizarre fiction that people think that if they personally do not own a car, they shouldn’t pay at all for roads because they don’t use them.)
Yes, we certainly need good maintenance of existing roads. But we should be transitioning away from reliance on roads for individual use and we definitely should not be funding mega mafia subsidies like the Turcot.
I wonder, if all our road construction were corruption-free (ha), whether we would have enough money to fully maintain our current infrastructure and appropriately fund public transit at current levels of taxation.
I have nothing good to say about the Turcot either.
I’d say the fiction is ignoring that non-drivers subsidize individual car ownership/transportation. If we charged cost for driving roads, then buses, business transportation and delivery vehicles wouldn’t change much, but individual transport may reduce.
If we charged only vehicles for road use — I cannot imagine how we would do that, honestly: how do you know how much usage some car uses in Quebec vs elsewhere, what about truck weights, how do we charge for public services, what about tourists, etc — then there would be a huge increase in costs for shipping and delivery of items, which would be equivalent to increasing a sales tax, which is pretty regressive as taxation goes. So you’d need to do more than just charge road users for road use — larger tax credits?
But furthermore, a transportation network — which includes roads — is one of those things that doesn’t do well under the libertarian model proposed. Everyone uses the roads, even non-drivers (through police and fire and post and ambulance services, through purchasing things that are made or grown elsewhere). Should gas taxes be increased, or registration costs inreased? Probably. But the idea that vehicles need to pay more is not the same as the idea that only vehicles should pay.
1) gas taxes. 2) currently everybody pays, non-drivers pay a disproportionate amount compared to individual drivers. If you increase the cost of driving and reduce the tax contribution, shipping costs may go up a little, but it’s just shifting costs a bit from taxes to cost of shipping. Note that if you add full cost of using roads to shipping, it wouldn’t be much more expensive, because it’s a high value transportation. As opposed to individual transportation. The cost may actually go down because congestion may be a higher tax on shipping than a road usage fee.
It’s a bit of a fallacy to say that because everybody benefits from roads, individual drivers should have access to roads for cheap. Especially given the negative externalities of driving, which aren’t even considered yet.
Gas taxes are not an accurate way of measuring road usage and are, especially in border areas, really easy to circumvent. I’m not saying that gas taxes are at the correct level, just that the entire costs of roads should not be covered through gas taxes.
Income tax is progressive. Sales tax is regressive. Increasing the price of all items (what would happen if gas taxes went up significantly) is effectively equal to increasing the sales tax.
I am not saying that the costs of car ownership are appropriately balanced; I am saying that the costs of a road network should not be entirely covered through gas taxes; some of these costs are the costs of living in a society.
There are other options. The much-despised discussion of bridge tolls, congestion or rush hour pricing, car pool lanes — and better options for people who want occasional public transit use, but find that once they have access to a car, the cost plus inconvenience of public transit (especially with multiple people going together) makes public transit a less useful choice.
How do you measure road usage. Especially considering that the cost of maintaining a road, i.e. road wear, is relative to the weight of the vehicle (to a high power). If you consider that fuel efficiency is related to the weight of the vehicle, and that low fuel vehicles have fewer negative externalities than high fuel vehicles, it actually isn’t such a bad way to charge people a reasonable ‘cost’ for driving.
Complaining that the effective sales tax is regressive, while arguable by itself, ignores 1) that currently poor non-drivers subsidise richer drivers 2) with less individual drivers, the cost of shipping may stay constant, it may even go down (i.e. congestion is a higher tax than higher gas taxes).
I am mostly complaining about the relative subsidy to individual transportation – once you remove that, the road network becomes cheaper to society, and leaves more money for public transportation.
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