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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dept. of "Wish I'd Thought of That"

Someone named Jeff Jensen in Portland has a funny --- but seriously good --- idea in the Oregonian about the oft-heard (and mistaken) carhead whine that bicyclists don't pay for the roads and that we should start taxing bicycles:
As a bicycle commuter for 17 years, I fully agree with Willie Nyquist's suggestion (Letters, Dec. 9) that we tax bicycles by adding a registration fee. In fact, I would like to suggest that the rate be the same for all vehicles and reflect the relative use of the road. How about $1 a pound?
Jensen's idea is not just a witty reply to carheads. It's a great way to complement gas taxes, because it's the per-axle-weight of vehicles that does the damage that drives up the costs of maintaining roads. Which is why a fully-loaded two-axle bus can be more damaging than a much-heavier semi-trailer in some cases (the weight is only spread across two axles).