Wednesday, July 26, 2006

User Fees

I've been reading many letters in the local paper over the past few weeks calling for licensing and registration of bicycles and riders, the idea being that this will increase safety by decreasing traffic law violations by riders, and will help pay for bike-lanes and other bike-oriented improvements.
As a bike commuter, I say these are excellent ideas. There are some bad riders out there that make the rest of us look bad. We've all seen the example of how licensing and registering cars and drivers have reduced speeding, red-light running, non-use of turn signals and other vehicle violations to absolute zero. Our roads our much safer now, thanks to those fees.
While we’re at it, it’s time we stopped subsidizing roads and highways with our tax dollars and increase fees vehicle drivers pay. Gas taxes, licensing and registration don’t begin cover the cost of maintaining old roads, never mind building new ones. And that's also ignoring the costs of externalities such as policing, associated health care costs and environmental damage and repair.
Continuing the user-pay scenario, let’s start licensing pedestrians, too. Clearly there’s room for safety improvements in this sector of the travelling public, as many of them don’t seem to understand the simple phrase “Don’t Walk.” And somebody’s got to pay for all those sidewalks.

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