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lux
31-10-2006, 09:20 PM
Introduce road pricing.

Completely eliminate paying for the cost of driving from the duties of owning property in Edmonton. Transfer all expenses of paving, maintaining, ploughing, any and all bridges and roadway capital improvements to the drivers themselves.

Either by:
a) road pricing using transponders
b) congestion charging as in London, UK
c) greater gas tax with revenue dedicated solely to roads
d) car registration fees.

All of which could be revenue neutral, or you could charge more, I don't mind so long as everything charged goes to the roads. I favour option A; true road pricing. Make the whole thing user-pay and stop subsidizing the use of cars by taxing people's homes.

This would:
a) ensure that we would always have the most competitive property taxes in Canada, in our province, and in our region
b) ensure that our roadways are actually useful and a dream to drive when necessary by flexibly providing revenue directly related to the need
c) remove market distortion and allow the competitive strengths of other modes of transportation to be appreciated, away from the shadows of the existing "car subsidy property tax"
d) allow the natural demand for public transit to emerge, letting it actually become competitive in its own right, and leading directly to expanded transit options
e) help us expand our track record of environmental expertise and
f) absolutely guarantee international attention for being the first city to do it right.

It would also ensure that users of Edmonton's infrastructure paid their fair share whether they lived in Edmonton or not!

It is the only way.

Thank you.

uberurban
31-10-2006, 10:57 PM
Cool. Transponders in every car on the road Though? Sounds kinda like big brother. But I suppose eventually all new vehicles will have something like OnStar™ in them anyway.

Would there be any allowance for the difference between someone who drives almost constantly and someone who just drives a couple times a week?

So cops would have to chase down anyone without a transponder? What about people visiting the city? Or what about the guy from St. Albert who visits daily :wink:

SteveB
01-11-2006, 06:21 AM
I like the idea of charging the out of towners for coming into the city (and I live in Sh Pk!). A downtown charge to collect money for downtown improvements is also a good idea....although it would cost millions to implement.

RichardS
01-11-2006, 06:24 AM
I do have OnStar, so I guess I am not scared of big brother...as long as the info is used in very specific cases. So far, it has.

The big thing here especaily with transponders is data storage, retreival, and accuracy. How are dispute resolutions solved?

LindseyT
01-11-2006, 09:14 AM
So then can mass transit be paid for by those who use it?

I'm sure the vast majority of residents in Edmonton's wealthy area's have little or no use for mass tranist. They would gladly transfer their contributions from mass transit to building and maintaining roads if given the choice. It's pretty tough to pay for a billion dollar LRT when the people who live in Riverbend etc who pay property taxes ten times the amount as residents in poorer transit freindly neighbourhoods check the road box on their property bill instead of the transit one.

You would then have to include tax revenue from gas stations, garages, aftermarket suppliers, auto body shops etc away from mass transit. Don't forget the tens of thousands of people who are employeed by all those services take that money away from transit and put into roads.

Cops, paramedics, firemen, social services....screw them too. We've never been helped by them. Why should I fund them.

RichardS
01-11-2006, 09:53 AM
...and the debate begins...

LindseyT
01-11-2006, 01:33 PM
I don't think it's a debate. Society long ago decided it was in everybody's best interest to distribute the cost of public infrastructure somewhat evenly. Libraries, schools, roads, transit, police, fire protection...it goes on and on. If you start screwing around with this you are going to start a massive chain reaction.

lux
01-11-2006, 08:25 PM
Cool. Transponders in every car on the road Though? Sounds kinda like big brother. But I suppose eventually all new vehicles will have something like OnStar™ in them anyway.

Would there be any allowance for the difference between someone who drives almost constantly and someone who just drives a couple times a week?

So cops would have to chase down anyone without a transponder? What about people visiting the city? Or what about the guy from St. Albert who visits daily :wink:

Nonono. Not Big Brother... Driving could be billed with a monthly statement. You could then be given 45 days to dispute any charge on the bill (like with a bank statement), after which time all records could be destroyed even. Uhmm. Not sure about "volume discounts" for frequent drivers, but not necessarily opposed either. And people commuting who visit daily could either get a transponder too or stop at toll booths, I suppose. I imagine they would all want transponders.

Tourists could get a free ride, maybe? I don't think that would change the basic principle though.

RichardS
01-11-2006, 08:29 PM
it is exactly like EZ pass or other toll activities.

lux
01-11-2006, 08:30 PM
So then can mass transit be paid for by those who use it?

Well, if you think about it, right now it is free to drive on the roads even though our taxes already pay for them. But, you have to pay every time you use transit even though our taxes already pay for that too.

I am just asking drivers to pay every time they drive the same way we already pay for transit every time we ride a bus or the LRT. Because I am not trying to create a tax grab, I would use the money from all the driver's trip payments to refund the property tax portion spent on roads.

How much you choose to drive or not drive has nothing to do with owning a house. You shouldn't have to pay to drive just because you own a house.

m0nkyman
01-11-2006, 08:35 PM
Well, if you think about it, right now it is free to drive on the roads even though our taxes already pay for them.
Perhaps you've missed the point of the exorbitant taxes on gasoline....

lux
01-11-2006, 08:43 PM
I'm sure the vast majority of residents in Edmonton's wealthy area's have little or no use for mass tranist. (...)

Well, I agree with you. But actually, the vast majority of all of Edmonton's areas have little or no use for mass transit. It is astonishing that the city even has a transit department at all considering how few people actually use it.

In cities where transit works, rich people also use transit all the time, because it is designed to be useful and convenient. They would often rather take transit, and while they might own a few BMWs, it would irritate them if they had to use them for certain trips because the subway is just that good.

Edmonton treats mass transit like a social program that is designed to tide people over until they "do the smart thing and get themselves a car." This is a recipe for gridlock, escalating road costs, reduced mobility, and a crappy transit system that is as useless for poor people as it is for the rich.

At the same time, if you show people the true cost of driving by actually charging them for what they use, suddenly transit seems like a good area to invest in. Suddenly we start car-pooling or combining trips. Suddenly we start making changes that reduce greenhouse gasses. Its all good. :)


Cops, paramedics, firemen, social services....screw them too. We've never been helped by them. Why should I fund them.

No; I never said anything about them. Transit only, here. Very very different economics than emergency services. People can make rational choices about everyday expenses, and markets are often a better forum for those choices. Emergency services are a different ball of wax entirely.

Although, to be honest, I would have no problem knocking 50 bucks off the cost of someone's property taxes if they buy new batteries for their smoke detectors every year, because that household is less likely to call on fire protection to the same degree as an irresponsible household.

lux
01-11-2006, 08:47 PM
Well, if you think about it, right now it is free to drive on the roads even though our taxes already pay for them.
Perhaps you've missed the point of the exorbitant taxes on gasoline....

The city does not have any say at all on gasoline taxes, and we're talking about the city's expenses here, which are currently met through tax on property. I concede that they do benefit from gas tax, at the moment, because the province has allowed it, for the moment... but really the city has no control over the rate of gas tax, and the provincial transfer could end at any time.

I'm only talking about the way the city itself generates revenue using means in its control. Property tax is not the way to go if it is technologically feasible (and it is) to actually charge people directly in relation to what they use.

m0nkyman
01-11-2006, 09:12 PM
I'm only talking about the way the city itself generates revenue using means in its control. Property tax is not the way to go if it is technologically feasible (and it is) to actually charge people directly in relation to what they use.

No. You were saying that driving was free. I pointed out that there is a mechanism in place that makes the users pay.

If you want the city have control over it, lobby for the ability of the city to impose gas taxes. That'd have the same effect without the ongoing expense of maintaining transponders and receivers.

LindseyT
02-11-2006, 07:14 AM
So then can mass transit be paid for by those who use it?

Well, if you think about it, right now it is free to drive on the roads even though our taxes already pay for them. But, you have to pay every time you use transit even though our taxes already pay for that too.

I am just asking drivers to pay every time they drive the same way we already pay for transit every time we ride a bus or the LRT. Because I am not trying to create a tax grab, I would use the money from all the driver's trip payments to refund the property tax portion spent on roads.

How much you choose to drive or not drive has nothing to do with owning a house. You shouldn't have to pay to drive just because you own a house.

Drivers do contribute...and probably a lot more than someone paying 55 bucks a month to ride the bus.

Does the city not recieve a portion of tax revenus from selling gas? What about the hundreds of automotive businesses that employ tens of thousands of people in the city. These businesses pay taxes to the city...employees buy houses and contribute by increasing the tax base......both direct injections of money from vehicle users to the city.

Perhaps it's time money generated from these sources stop being lumped in a general revenue pot and be put into maintaining the infrastructure they support.

Titanium48
06-11-2006, 03:38 PM
Fundamentally, I agree with the idea of making road users pay for road construction and maintanance. The transponder concept would be good for keeping track of where and when people are using the roads but I'm not sure it would be worth the costs (both monetary and the "big brother" factor).

I don't think it is unreasonable to use property taxes to help fund some road maintainence, at least to the extent that the roads are utilized by public transit, municipal services (eg. garbage collection) and non-motorized users (eg. cyclists). The city could estimate the cost of maintaining a hypothetical minimal network of narrow streets to the same standard as existing local roads and apply the calculated amount of property tax revenue to road maintainence.

I would like to see a more stable and equitable arrangement for distribution of fuel tax revenue between the province and the municipalities, including some flexibility for cities to raise their own fuel taxes. Both the province and the cities should apply this revenue exclusively to road construction and maintanence, raising fuel taxes whenever more money is needed for roads.

I like the idea of higher registration fees, with the revenue directed to roads. These should be "weight-distance charges", so people who drive more and/or drive heavier vehicles (which damage roads more) will pay more. Something like $0.01/km/tonne would work, with the revenue being split between the province and the cities the same way as fuel taxes.

Another change I would like to see implemented is pay by the kilometer automobile insurance. That way you would only pay for liability and collision insurance when you actually drive your vehicle and you could save on the largest single cost of owning a vehicle every time you left it at home. The liablilty portion should also be proportional to vehicle weight, as a collision caused by someone driving a Metro will result in lot less damage to the other car and its occupants than it would if the person was driving an SUV.

JeffB
06-11-2006, 04:46 PM
I was recently in Ireland on business and was talking with our hosts over lunch. The issue of Road Tax (or Motor Tax) came up at one point.

Turns out that Irish drivers' annual registration fees for any automobile is based on the engine displacement. One of our hosts said his 1.6 litre sedan costs roughly €600 per year to register (not including insurance). The fees increase as the size of the engine does, so that any engine over 2.5 litres attracts almost stratospheric registration costs.

One gentlemen told us his shock on a visit to the States on seeing Hummers all over the place, and the shock of seeing vehicles with engines of 6 litres.

I can see a road tax scheme like this working two-fold: 1) ensuring drivers of 'heavy duty' vehicles pay their fair share for increased wear on the infrastructure, and 2) making it more expensive to drive these enormously over-powered and over-sized monsters.