A good overview of the cost of cars in terms of money, space, and time at Planetizen. Transportation costs are already unaffordable (>20% of household income) for the lowest income 40% of the US, and drivers only pay a minority of automotive costs directly. Over the last half of the 20th century, the proportion of household income dedicated to transportation doubled. Cars use ~20x as much spacetime (s*m^2) as bikes for the same commute, and ~200x as much as a pedestrian. Interestingly the direct car costs mentioned are only about half what AAA estimates ($4100 vs. $8500 per year).
A study from the US Public Research Interest Group (PDF) on transportation funding the US. The short answer is that only about half of highway funds come from “user fees” like the gas tax and vehicle registration fees. The rest is payed out of bonds, property taxes and other government revenues.
A summary of research looking at how road infrastructure is funded (PDF) from VTPI. Only about half of road funding comes from “use” fees like the gas tax and vehicle registration fees. The other half comes from general tax revenues. Ultimately this means that non-motorized road users, whose impacts on road infrastructure are very low, overpay significantly and end up subsidizing motorists.
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Continue reading Links for the week of November 28th, 2009
- Fight against terror 'spells end of privacy' – Admiral Poindexter's Total Information Awareness is alive and well, and living in the front bedroom. Privacy is dead. Long live privacy! Transparency is our only hope. (tagged: transparency privacy surveillance police terrorism )
- FairShare — Watch how your work spreads. Understand how it is used. – A system for tracking how your content is re-published across the web, and potentially monetizing that re-use, or just making sure that people are abiding by your creative commons license. (tagged: copyright creativecommons technology openaccess )
- Dmitry Orlov: Social Collapse Best Practices – I'm sure I won't agree with Orlov on a lot of things, but I want to watch this just to see what the Dark Side is talking about. And he's reportedly funny too. (tagged: collapse economy crisis bailout longnow )
- Designing a Zero-Waste City: A Visit to the San Francisco Dump – San Francisco has a stated goal of zero waste to landfill by 2020. They currently divert 70% of their municipal waste stream, composting yard and food waste, taking in construction materials, sending usable furniture, clothes, plants, etc to thrift stores. The dump even has a coveted "Artist in Residence" program. (tagged: green urban design landfill compost waste sustainability sanfrancisco )
- Highway to hell revisited – A conservative commentator railing against… highways? Barring the political crap at either end of the article, I think he's got a pretty good critique of our national obsession with massive roads projects. Too bad we're just dumping a ton more cash into them. (tagged: transportation policy stimulus highways cars )
- This Old House – Conservative columnist David Brooks (from late last year) talking about how one might reasonably go about using the stimulus to re-invest intelligently, instead of just gushing cash at the construction industry. Sadly, his fears appear to have been largely realized. (tagged: transportation policy stimulus infrastructure obama urban nytimes )