Thursday, February 21, 2013

NW - Tree-huggers vs. Bike-huggers; $25 bike tax

Northwest Bicycle News

In Portland, residents are rallying to save a 120-foot sequoia tree that the city wants to cut down, to build a bike/pedestrian path.

Story HERE.

I love trees, and so my first reaction (being admittedly totally unfamiliar with the logistics of this project) is, "Why can't they just build the path so it jogs around the tree?" From the story: The city said it looked at several alternatives. In the end, however, city officials felt that removing this one tree was the best option.

Sorry, it's hard to imagine a scenario where they can't just make the path jog a few feet. I'd gladly slow down, to ride around a magnificent sequoia tree!

And in Washington (the state), there's an outcry about a Legislative proposal to charge a $25 fee on bike purchases, as part of a $10 billion transportation revenue package.

Story HERE.

The fee would apply to any bicycle sold for over $500. That's kinda weird, huh? Do expensive bikes cause more wear-and-tear on the infrastructure than cheaper bikes? And, would it apply to used bikes, or just new bikes? (Will there be a "bike show loophole"?)

Frankly, I don't think most transportation cyclists would begrudge paying a reasonable fee to help with maintenance and construction of bicycle infrastructure. But it sounds like the WA proposal just puts all the money into a big pot for everything from bike paths to freeways. (And cyclists can make a very valid argument that since a good percentage of the cost of maintaining roads derives from property tax, we're already paying more than our fair share. Especially if you consider the wear-and-tear, or lack thereof, we inflict on the roads.) Sounds to me like just one more example of runaway government, trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip.


idahospeed said...

Check this one out....from Vancouver trying to figure out a way to have a rental fleet with a helmet law.

Scott said...

Washington State already has a sales tax that adds $32 to the price of a $500 bike, but if the additional $25 would be used toward bike infrastructure (and silencing the "cyclists don't pay gas tax" crowd, I could come to peace with it.

I think the $500 threshold is indended to target people who ride bikes capable of significant miles. It excludes kids' bikes and Walmart bikes that will only be ridden once or twice before they end up sold at a yard sale.