@willb – not entirely correct – municipalities do receive allocations for local road and street maintenance from the “Liquid Fuels Tax,” which is one means by which the State maintains the cooperation of the local municipality. By that, I mean if a municipality does not follow PennDot requirements for road work or improvements – even on “local” roads, the state can withhold Liquid Fuels Tax revenue from the municipality.
I don’t thunk such a number is meaningful, since different types of roads have vastly different funding sources. City and local roads where cyclists spend most of their time are not paid for at all by gas tax (probably, I’ve never been able to find definitive data). Interstates, where bikes are not allowed (with a few exceptions), are paid for predominantly by gas tax, but as I noted above that isn’t even true due to congress’ refusal to raise the gas tax, its more acceptable to steal from the general fund instead.
I don’t know Dan, I’d like to think that if some of those people were confronted by actual facts they might change their stance… but maybe I’m just, uh – let’s say “optimistic”.
Addressing the irrelevant argument lends validity to it, and shifts the focus away from the key point that the law already lays out cyclists’ right to the road.
Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying it’s a bad idea to have real data such as the sources of funding for local road construction and repair. I’m just saying that there’s little point in presenting facts to toddlers engaged in magical thinking.
@salty: google “liquid fuels trust fund, city of pittsburgh, 2012” that’s where the money is: “Grants, state, federal”
OK… “liquid fuels tax” was the magic phrase missing from my earlier searches on the subject. So, if I’m interpreting this report correctly it looks like my (and willb’s) claim about local road funding is incorrect.
Regarding the distribution of Liquid Fuels Tax funds (courtesy of the google machine):
Regardless the funding source, I agree with Dan: “*Any* arguments that support the idea that “bikes don’t have the right to be on the road” are red herrings. The law is clear, no matter how badly people wish to believe that their pet theories somehow invalidate it.”
Here’s another source regarding funding: http://www.pacounties.org/GovernmentRelations/Documents/TransportationFunding032807.pdf
Municipalities spent $1.309 billion for road construction and maintenance in 2004 and, in contrast to mass transit, local governments shouldered 78 percent of this expense through local sources, including property and income taxes. State funding for local roads amounted to only $294 million.
That said, I share reddan’s concern that the discussion over road funding is a means of shifting the focus away from the fact, which is that we have a legal right to be on most roads, to the theory that access to a shared resource is based on a pay-for-use model. According to this argument, travellers from other states and nations would have no right to use our transportation structures, nor we theirs.
The vast majority of arguments against cyclists appear to be thinly veiled attempts to justify the authors’ beliefs that they have no obligation to obey laws they don’t happen to agree with.
I agree 100% but invalidating it based on law alone doesn’t seem to be enough.
1: Law says we can be there.
2: Your shitty argument is shitty, you are not paying for any of this.
3: Most of us own cars anyway, registration is moot.
I stand corrected. Although it’s pretty hard to tell what the actual cost of road maintenance is by looking at the city budget – I suspect that the Liquid Fuels Tax fund does not cover all road costs. Still, it’s clearly a substantial portion.
ETA – fjordan indicates that the bulk of road funding still comes from local sources, so given how little damage bikes do to roads, we can certainly claim to be paying our share, even if we shouldn’t really have to make that argument in the first place, as reddan has pointed out.
A municipality in the State of VA tried to asses higher fines for traffic violations to out of state motorist. They were challenged in court and lost because they could not prove if the roads in the municipality were built & maintained with 100% local funding. The majority of roads and highways in this country are built and maintained with a combination of Federal, State, and Local funds.
Right, I spent the past 15 minutes looking at city budgets and I don’t see anywhere that road maintenance is specifically broken out. I did find an article claiming the city was spending 11.3M on paving this year vs 6.2M received from the liquid fuels trust fund, but the same article says the city only spent $5M in 2011. So, the gap is at least $5M this year – maybe more since it appears that 11.3M number is the paving budget and may not include other maintenance, snow clearing, equipment, etc.
Anyways, I think it’s interesting to uncover how exactly the roads are funded, especially since it appears to be obfuscated as much as possible. It is irrelevant as far as whether bikes are allowed on the road, although personally I would sleep better knowing that I did pay my fair share… which I was briefly in doubt about, but on further review we certainly pay some portion via income and/or property taxes although the amount is unclear.
And furthermore, if a cyclist who commutes to work in town would start driving they would likely drive a small car getting around 25-30 mpg and maybe drive 10 miles a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year for a total of 2600 miles and using a total of 104 gallons paying for 104 gallons and paying a $0.12/gallon tax totaling $12.48.
7% sales tax would require a $178 purchase to equal the $12.48.
i try to steer clear of making arguments that consist mostly of “because it’s the law.” they fall apart once that fact goes away. one needs also to demonstrate that it should be the law.
consider, for example, the case of illegal immigrants. there are plenty of people who love to get all up in arms about illegal immigrants, and the bulk of their argument tends to be “because it’s illegal!” but what if it wasn’t? i suspect more than a few would find other reasons to hate.
so what if bicycling on public roads were made illegal? does that mean bikes shouldn’t have a right to use the roads? i suspect most of us would not easily concede that point.
Update: Sean wrote me a nice email. I’ll be reaching out to him when I get a moment..
BikePGH/DVE fundraiser ride would be pretty awesome and might entice some folks to come out and learn even if they don’t know they are. Sean can draw a crowd for sure and people take him at face value.
I’m not looking for an argument to fire back at the majority of those Facebook comments where logic has no reasoning ability. More looking to know for myself how gas taxes effect road funding.
thank you Scott for the update! I have high but I believe reasonable hopes for good things to come of this yet
The source I cited was from the PA County Commisioners’ Association and applies to local (but not federal or, presumably, state) roads.
Reduced fuel consumption is taking a serious bit out of road funding, so liquid taxes play a significan role in road and infrastructure revenues.
Penndot has a detailed report on the issue from 2010 here: ftp://ftp.dot.state.pa.us/public/pdf/TFAC/Transportation%20Funding%20Study%20-%20Final%20Report.pdf
@scott -Glad to hear Sean is reaching out! Keep us posted!
This isn’t the first time Sean said something awful about cyclists on the air. He needs an opportunity to pursue other career opportunities. Clear Channel needs to know this.
Maybe Scott can also get him to reconsider his views on playing Blue Oyster Cult, Bachman Turner Overdrive and REO Speedwagon.
Anonymous 09/13/2012 at 1:56pm #
in order for dve to change thier music they would need to figure out how to unweld the door and open thier 5-disc cd changer.
In order for DVE to change their rotation they would need their customer base to want something different. They don’t…
Anonymous 09/13/2012 at 2:43pm #
I don’t agree with what Sean said, but I know the guy and he really is a good guy. I guess I am willing to cut him a break because of that. His comments do not reflect the person that I know, which is just a good, decent guy who is really very nice to everyone without any kind of attitude. Yeah, I know-his comments don’t help the situation, but I am willing to cut him a break because I say and do stupid things too.
If you know him personnally, why not ask him to come on the next Flock ride. Nothing is better at changing your perspective then, well…
And maybe even the Flock audio trailer could expose the guy to some non-antique music, eh? Sean, ever hear of the Black Angels, Florence & the Machine, Kasabian, Lykke Li,…?
By audio trailer you mean the big white thing that play 15 seconds of a song then 45 seconds of silence?
You guys know it’s my turn to pick the music on the next flock ride right?
Oops, just saw the other post!
Ha, ha! Yeah, that thing.
I also think WDVE plays those same ten songs I already heard way too much when I was still young.
On the other hand, WDVE plays a higher proportion of local music than WYEP, the local supposedly non-profit, does.
That speaks very well of WDVE.
< rant mode = ‘on’ >
WYEP’s programming is so shameful with respect to the great local music scene here that someone should plow the WYEP so-called “Community center” into the ground, then exile anyone who has had anything to do with their programming to some dreary far suburb of LA. (Which they, evidently, think Pittsburgh is)
At very least, everyone who has said “Where the music matters!!!” should be prosecuted for false advertising.
I grew up on WDVE, and have a friend who used to work there. I rarely listen anymore, but there’s a lot of people who really love that station, what they play, and their on-air personalities – different strokes for different folks. Sean won’t have a lot of flexibility in what he can play.
His apology on the other thread, and the fact that he’s reached out to Scott, really says a lot to me. I think joining in on a ride would be awesome too, but I generally think that for just about everybody who can ride a bike. (And for those who can’t yet it’s just a matter of time…)
For the people still grudging – what would it take? He’s demonstrated remorse and reached out to cyclists. Would you rather he were fired or quit than that he admit he made some ill-thought-through comments and attempts to atone for it?
Unemployment sucks. Outreach and learning rocks. Remember, he’s got a huge audience. I’d rather welcome him into our awesome fold than hate on a perceived former hater (who, at least to me, doesn’t appear to have actually been a hater at all).
But to do that we have to be welcoming and awesome.
Like I said, just a small mention on the air about some bike ride (for charity) could do a lot of good.
Might even draw out some fringe riders based on popularity.
@mick: I agree about what DVE plays so I rarely listen to it as well. I switched to the X (the Rebel before that) but it’s play list has been stuck in time too. I have satellite but I think my ADD kicks in and I can’t find anything that I want to listen to…..I’m just musically lost at this point.
@ Mick, yeah, occasionally it will seem like YEP is more influenced by Nashville than anywhere else. Like, W. T. F. ?
Anonymous 09/13/2012 at 5:57pm #
The only person I can complain to about my music options is myself, and that guy ain’t listening to me anymore.
I listen to WYEP at work every day when I get sick of all 15 songs that my phone has the capacity to hold…
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