Author Topic: Roads: America's $600 Billion Subsidy  (Read 4220 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Roads: America's $600 Billion Subsidy
« on: January 11, 2011, 03:10:38 AM »
Roads: America's $600 Billion Subsidy



So much for the myth that roads pay for themselves through the form of gas taxes and tolls.  A recently released study from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group claims the answer is a resounding "no" as it's revealed that road construction has sucked $600 billion out of American taxpayer's wallets since the creation of the interstate system.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2011-jan-roads-americas-600-billion-subsidy

dougskiles

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Re: Roads: America's $600 Billion Subsidy
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2011, 07:30:17 AM »
I've been wanting to see something like this for a long time.  Thanks for posting it.

I-10east

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Re: Roads: America's $600 Billion Subsidy
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2011, 08:41:14 AM »
RAIL IS THE WAY!!! STOP WASTING TAXPAYERS MONEY WITH THESE URBAN ENVORNMENT KILLING, SPRAWL CREATING, CONCRETE ARTERIES!!!!!!

I'd just thought that I'd lead the mandatory "Ock-like" charge against highways, and sprawl for the fun of it. LOL

peestandingup

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Re: Roads: America's $600 Billion Subsidy
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2011, 09:15:35 AM »
They figured out they could create a lot more industries if we all had to drive our own separate vehicles. Road crews, traffic police writing tickets for all kinds of infractions, insurance companies, bank loans, gas stations, oil changing places, constant maintenance, tires, car lots, parking garages, hell, the people that have to scrape up dead bodies off the roads after accidents, etc etc etc. All done to squeeze even more out of the commoner.

Judge Doom: A few weeks ago I had the good providence to stumble upon a plan of the city council. A construction plan of epic proportions. We're calling it a "freeway".

Eddie Valiant: Freeway? What the hell's a freeway?

Judge Doom: Eight lanes of shimmering cement running from here to Pasadena. Smooth, safe, fast. Traffic jams will be a thing of the past.

Eddie Valiant: So that's why you killed Acme and Maroon? For this freeway? I don't get it.

Judge Doom: Of course not. You lack vision, but I see a place where people get on and off the freeway. On and off, off and on all day, all night. Soon, where Toon Town once stood will be a string of gas stations, inexpensive motels, restaurants that serve rapidly prepared food. Tire salons, automobile dealerships and wonderful, wonderful billboards reaching as far as the eye can see. My God, it'll be beautiful.

Eddie Valiant: Nobody's gonna drive this lousy freeway when they can take the Red Car (streetcar) for a nickel.

Judge Doom: Oh, they'll drive. They'll have to. You see, I bought the Red Car so I could dismantle it.

urbanlibertarian

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Re: Roads: America's $600 Billion Subsidy
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2011, 09:18:52 AM »
FYI:

Quote
The US Public Interest Research Group (also known as PIRG) is a political lobby non-profit organization in the United States and Canada, composed of self-governing affiliates at the state and province level. Its fundraising arm is the Fund for Public Interest Research ("the Fund").

Mission statement

U.S. PIRG is the National lobbying and grassroots arm of the State PIRGs, a Federation of Statewide Non-Profit, Non-Partisan public interest advocacy organizations.

"U.S. PIRG is an advocate for the public interest. When consumers are cheated, or the voices of ordinary citizens are drowned out by special interest lobbyists, U.S. PIRG speaks up and takes action. We uncover threats to public health and well-being and fight to end them, using the time-tested tools of investigative research, media exposés, grassroots organizing, advocacy and litigation. U.S. PIRG's mission is to deliver persistent, result-oriented public interest activism that protects our health, encourages a fair, sustainable economy, and fosters responsive, democratic government".[1]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Interest_Research_Group
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DemocraticNole

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Re: Roads: America's $600 Billion Subsidy
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2011, 10:21:17 AM »
Does anybody think this country would be better off if we had never built the Interstate Highway System? I sure don't. This report almost seems to argue that we should have never built interstates.

Building endless amounts of roads is not the answer to fixing our problems, but a metropolitan area should have a solid road infrastructure in place if it wishes to be economically successful. The Tampa Bay metro area is really paying today for lack of road infrastructure investment over the past 45 years.

thelakelander

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Re: Roads: America's $600 Billion Subsidy
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2011, 10:30:03 AM »
I think the report doesn't question whether the Interstate Highway System should have been built in the first place.  To me, it just puts everything in its proper place by proving that major road construction is heavily subsidized.  That's something many tend to overlook.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

north miami

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Re: Roads: America's $600 Billion Subsidy
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2011, 10:33:54 AM »
Our own area DOT spokesperson Mr.Goldman is learning to refrain from referring to upcoming "improvements" that "are just like Atlanta".

The 'driver' behind the proposed Northeast Florida beltway was an erroneous but very successful promotion of Brannon/Chaffee as "alleviation" for Blanding Blvd.

Who recalls Mayor Delaney's press conference quotes that we could not build ourselves out of congestion?? Indeed that comment period was brief-Delaney soon after placed a major hand on Beltway accommodation matters.

The list is endless.....................like a strip of asphalt extending to the horizon.

(By the way- have been exploring one of the largest roadless areas in the Southeast-and by roadless I mean not even a maintained forest trail.Less than an hour from Downtown;Osceola National Forest Pinhhokk Swamp region.Multiple adjoining square mile sections and many other sqaure mile sections only glanced by dirt road,and the 'swamp' actually hard packed sand and accessable,fat tire bike riding on the roads that meander near the roadless expanse quite amazing-I am not suggesting this as some common ideal but the feel of such a roadless area is profound)
« Last Edit: January 11, 2011, 11:45:39 AM by north miami »

peestandingup

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Re: Roads: America's $600 Billion Subsidy
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2011, 11:00:37 AM »
Does anybody think this country would be better off if we had never built the Interstate Highway System? I sure don't. This report almost seems to argue that we should have never built interstates.

Building endless amounts of roads is not the answer to fixing our problems, but a metropolitan area should have a solid road infrastructure in place if it wishes to be economically successful. The Tampa Bay metro area is really paying today for lack of road infrastructure investment over the past 45 years.

Who's to say that rail couldn't have accomplished the same exact thing for cheaper (for construction/maintenance costs & costs to the average consumer)?

What is a road?? Its basically just an artery for a vehicle to travel on to get to places. We already had these arteries in place (rail) that pretty much went everywhere back then (even rural areas), it was the best in the world actually. Could you imagine what it could have been now if we didn't ditch the whole thing for our cars, had left it alone & kept updating it?? You could have basically walked out your door & had access to the entire city/country. All without having to have 2 car payments, without having to pay for insurance, without having to keep filling up the tank, without constantly maintaining them, and most importantly, without endangering you/your family's lives every time you leave the house.

So do you understand the reasoning now of why we did what we did?? It's all about money & getting the most bang-for-the-buck out of every citizen.

No one's saying roads shouldn't have been built, but cars should have been the secondary (or even third) mode of transport to get people to places that the rail lines simply didn't/couldn't go. Instead, we've made them the primary without any alternative whatsoever.

US Railroad 1918

ricker

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Re: Roads: America's $600 Billion Subsidy
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2011, 12:17:54 PM »
^^^ the photo above.
I understan the overland bridge is in poor condition and should 95 south should carry 3 lanes continuously not including exit ramps beyond Nira St through to Emerson.

BUT_

Is Hendricks access below, from the Main St bridge viaduct closed and/or planned to be closed?

WHY is the HUGE Kings Ave monorail station and garage cut off from direct vehiclular entry out of downtown by this closure?

Captain Zissou

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Re: Roads: America's $600 Billion Subsidy
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2011, 01:53:04 PM »


Where we're going we don't need roads.

ricker

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Re: Roads: America's $600 Billion Subsidy
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2011, 06:39:45 PM »
thank you roger duh wabbit.

spuwho

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Re: Roads: America's $600 Billion Subsidy
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2011, 12:45:09 AM »
Interesting read, but technically ALL tax based public services are subsidized. Medicare, Medicaid, Defense, Highways, Transit, the list goes on.

The desire for good roads goes back to the dawn of man. The Romans needed them, the Germans needed them, and yes, a demand for better roads actually went out during our English Colony days. So even the Americans needed them.

So to try to establish that this is some recent thing is somewhat an unusual exercise in making an extreme point.

Early American days there were many discussions on what was the preferred way to travel, toll roads (called turnpikes back then) or building canals. No cars, just horse buggy or long boat.

As far as sprawl is concerned, there were concerns that interurbans in the early 1900's contributed to suburban sprawl by allowing people to live distant from their workplaces. So thinking that cars is the root of all sprawl problems is very short sighted and ignores many other issues that contribute to the big picture.

This article isn't really about cars or highways or sprawl, it's about current cultural norms and how much it costs to maintain them and if they are sustainable. A valid argument for sure, but misdirected by looking at just one activity and assigning it as the root cause.

dougskiles

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Re: Roads: America's $600 Billion Subsidy
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2011, 06:44:25 AM »
The value in this article is to provide a researched response to the arguments of rail opponents when they claim that rail doesn't pay for itself.  Highways don't pay for themselves either - at least not when looked at from a user-fee (gas tax) perspective.

Quote
Gasoline is exempt from sales taxes in 37 states and the District of Columbia.

The Better Jax Plan paid for much of the recent roadwork here through a 0.5 cent sales tax.  I did some quick research and from the best I can tell, Florida is one of those 37 states (perhaps someone can find a definitive answer and post it).  If that is the case, then none of the money collected by BJP for roads is a result of user fees.  It is all coming from purchases of items other than gasoline.

Trainman

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Re: Roads: America's $600 Billion Subsidy
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2011, 07:41:12 AM »
A history lesson for those questioning why interstate highways were built. The primary user for the "Eisenhower Highway" was intended to be the US Army, not the common citizen. With the advent of the cold war after WWII and the threat of nuclear attack and/or possible invasion by communist forces the military needed a rapid way to move men and material rapidly over long distances. The hedge row country of Europe during WWII was a valuable learning experience on how an army can bog down without good roads. Belt ways were built around major cities in case a nuclear blast made the city area impassible. Long sections of straight road would be runways for aircraft. Why not move by rail you ask? Because most major rail junctions were, yep you guessed it, close to targeted downtown areas. So essentially, the interstate highway system was a strategic asset that now serves other uses.