Big Surprise: Highways Don't Pay For Themselves


Whenever we write about the need for more money for transit, trains and bike routes, we get lots of comments about how drivers pay through the nose in gas taxes to pay for the roads they drive on, while transit and train are highly subsidized and cyclists? "when you start paying taxes on the roads like we do then you can take up space on them."

In fact, a new Texas study looked at the cost of building and maintaining roads, and determined that for roads without tolls, the gas tax would have to be $ 2.22 per gallon, almost ten times what it is now in the States.


cool graph from comparing gas taxes to consumption

Planetizen concludes: "This study provides support for transportation reform advocates nationwide whether they be pushing congestion pricing locally or AMTRAK nationally. If no transportation project, be it highway, transit or something else, can be said to "pay for itself;" then the arguments of car culture advocates and libertarians who argue against alternative transportation on the basis that it is only viable because of a government subsidy loses what little credibility it has left." ::Planetizen
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