Transportation headlines, Friday, Feb. 1

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

Beijing air pollution. Photo by moemoe223/Flickr

Beijing air pollution. Photo by moemoe223/Flickr

Five trends to watch in China’s urban transportion saga (The City Fix)

China watching has become almost a competitive sport, which probably makes sense since our economies are so intertwined. Where transit issues are concerned, it’s  interesting to track (with a certain amount of jealousy) what China can get done in so little time, with fewer rules and regulations to observe. This two-part post suggests a couple of trends that just might pan out. And yes, a campaign against air pollution, involving an aggressively developing transit program, is on the list. There’s a predicted return to bikes, too — something of an irony, since until rather recently China was a nation of bicycles.

Five China trends — part 2

Biking etc.

Antonio Villaraigosa transportation cheat sheet (Streetsblog)

Will Mayor Villaraigosa get the Secretary of Transportation job? From the vantage point of L.A. news junkies, the quest looks like it could be bumpy. But you might want to check out Damian Newton’s post on Mayor V.’s transportation record. Charlie Sheen aside (and does Washington care about Charlie Sheen?), it’s pretty impressive.

Rethinking the gas tax (Transportation for America)

Suddenly the gas tax is the topic du jour in D.C. That’s not necessarily a bad thing since the per-gallon federal tax is so important to mobility. Major new proposals from all over are examining the tax. Which one will get the nod? Or will it be abandoned as old-fashioned and inept. Find out what some of the options could be and let us know which you think ought to get the green light.

Pasadena‘s first bicycle boulevard opens (Pasadena Sun)

Pasadena’s bicycle boulevard — only the second in L.A.County, according to the Sun — opened this week, stretching about three-quarters of a mile along Marengo Avenue. It’s  anchored on one end at Orange Grove Boulevard and the other end at Washington Boulevard …  a lovely ride and another opportunity for a little solitude.

6 replies

  1. Gas tax is dead. Growing number of hybrid vehicles means that cars are getting better gas mileages year after year.

    Motorcycles and scooter sales were at an all time high last year due to higher gasoline prices. They all get better gas mileage than most cars, some get even better gas mileage than a Prius.

    And now, even electric cars are hitting the market. How are you going to collect gas tax from something that uses no gas at all? Zero times anything is zero.

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  2. LAX FF is correct that more cars are getting better mileage. This leads to a different potential _short term_ concept, than LAX FF suggests. As milage goes up, raise the gas (and diesel) tax (about 1 cent per gallon per fiscal quarter over the next 3 years or so). This will keep people paying about the same amount per mile as they did years ago. It will also provide a little more pressure to select more effcient vehicles.

    Then in about 5 years reform the system. Maybe have a tire tax. Base the tax upon the load rating on a tire times its estimated lifespan. The issue with this is it is a bigger single bite. People will squawk. Doing a mileage tax would be hard to implement. Having people report their mileage would likely lead to fruad.

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  3. Just a person,

    Raising the gas tax by 1 cent will make little difference. How are you going to collect gas tax when cars in the future don’t even use gas anymore and run purely on rechargeable electricity?

    Tire tax same thing. You can’t expect everyone to drive the same distance. A person who drives less will end up spreading the cost of the tax over years, maybe even decades as opposed to a person who drives more.

    And in the end, those ideas come back and haunt you as the bus rider. Buses run on our roads too and they run on tires too. Have you thought about the risk of fare prices going up because of all the added costs involved?

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  4. @Junior, how do suggest to administrate that tax?

    @Sox Fan, You did not get the point of my post. Currently the Federal tax is 18.4 cents per gallon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_taxes_in_the_United_States#Federal_taxes
    Moving that up 1 cent may not seem like much, but by the end of the 3 years it would be 30.4 (I am actually in favour of more). That is a big difference. Also, I suggested it as a short term solution. I would hope that the states do something similar. And again it would make transit and efficient vehicles more attractive.

    The tire tax would effectively be a way of doing a per mile tax. Also by factoring in load rating, It takes into account the heavier wear and tear that heavier vehicles deliver. This still makes transit more appealing.

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  5. Car drivers already are taxed per mile.

    When we purchase gas to make our cars run, we are prepaying our future trips that are to be done by the car. Each time we travel a mile thereafter, it consumes that much gas depending on the MPG, which relates to the portion of taxes that were paid when we filled our gas.

    Gas taxes is about 69 cents per gallon when you add in all the federal, state, and local taxes. For a car that has a 10 gallon gas tank, that adds up to $6.90 that are taxes each time we fill up the tank. If a car is able to get about 200 miles before the next fill up (around 20 MPG), the contributing that a car driver pays to taxes come to about 3.5 cents a mile. See, it already is a form of taxation per mile.

    You raise the gas tax on the federal level, what’s next? State? Local? And you know what tactic they use to come up with to try to pass these lame excuses for more taxes. It’s the usual “oh it’ll only cost $X more, or X cents a day, you guys can afford that can’t you” trick to make you think it’s only that much, but in the end, it adds up to more taxes and more taxes that you never realize you’re paying more each year because of this scam.

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