The Atlantic: US Legal System Prioritizes Cars

Since the crash that killed this author’s friend in 1995, approximately 1 million more Americans have been killed in car crashes. This carnage has been normalized in the US, and “governments have prioritized motorists’ convenience over other goals, including the lives of people who aren’t driving”.  If you ride a bike have you ever been accused that you don’t belong on the road because drivers pay gas taxes?  Speaking of taxes, buyers of expensive new electric or hybrid cars get great tax breaks:

Those who walk or bike to work receive no commuter tax benefit, while those who drive receive tax-deductible parking. Another provision of the tax code gives car buyers a tax rebate of up to $7,500 when their new vehicles are electric or hybrid; buyers of brand-new Audis, BMWs, and Jaguars can claim the full $7,500 from the American taxpayer. Environmentally, these vehicles offer an improvement over gas-powered cars (but not public or active transit). Even so, 85 to 90 percent of toxic vehicle emissions in traffic come from tire wear and other non-tailpipe sources, which electric and hybrid cars still produce. They also still contribute to traffic, and can still kill or maim the people they hit. Why are we taxing bus riders to pay rich people to buy McMansions and luxury electric SUVs?

Who Pays For Roads?

As we become a more muti-modal country many drivers are claiming the roads they use are intended for motor vehicles only – bicycles and scooters are considered usurpers.  There has been a belief that roads are meant for vehicles because drivers pay gas tax. But everyone is paying for roads, car owners, or not. In this 2015 article the author suggests, “It’s also high time to enact a per-mile fee that can be adjusted for the types of transportation costs we’d like to capture—emissions, congestion, construction, maintenance, transit equity…”


Debunking the Myth That Only Drivers Pay for Roads


Landing on the moon was still a wild dream the last time gas taxes paid nearly the full cost of our roads.

“”When you tally all these hidden costs together, alongside the assists that already occur for road construction and maintenance, the average household pays between $1,105 and $1,848 a year in what the report calls “uncompensated damage costs to support motor vehicle use in the United States.” Again: whether they drive a lot or hardly at all.””

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