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Comments about ‘Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Bike riders in Salt Lake City, are they friend or foe?’

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Published: Sunday, April 14 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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JKR
Holladay, UT

Frank, your comments might be considered so anti-liberal and status quo. Frank should pay a visit to one of our local hospitals and look around at all the obese persons with diabetes or getting their joints replaced, or both. Biking is a great way to work exercise into a busy daily routine. We Salt Lakers are very fortunate to have a mayor who is willing to support bike lanes and this form of alternative transportation. If you live in Salt Lake County, as I do. the difference between the city and county is stark -- the bike lanes end at the county boundary. Frank should buy a new bike, get a good lock, and start riding a bit to augment is trail running.

KDave
Moab, UT

The tax on gasoline is a dinosaur. Back when it was initiated almost all vehicles got 10 mpg. Now it varies from the same 10 mpg (some of us have to have these vehicles for different reasons) to vehicles that use no gasoline, but still use the same infrastructure. It is time to change to a more equitable method of funding our highways.

Prodicus
Provo, UT

KDave, on the contrary, those who know what they're talking about know the gas tax needs to be very substantially _increased_. From Steven Chu (LBNL/UCB Nobel-winning physicist, former energy secretary) to Greg Mankiw (leading conservative economist, Harvard prof, Romney's main economic adviser), those who are forthright will tell you we need an increase of $1/gallon or more.

The gas tax doesn't fund our highways as it is. The UDOT budget is >$1Billion and growing very rapidly. The gas tax is less than a third of that and hasn't even come anywhere close to matching inflation. Every year we rob more and more of the rest of our state budget to wastefully subsidize ineffective road spending.

When you subsidize something like that, people's incentives are skewed and they make inefficient decisions. Users must bear the costs instead.

Gasoline use is very well correlated with the primary social costs: wear and tear on the roads (miles driven, heavier vehicles), construction needs, pollution, gridlock, etc.

The gas tax is more equitable, more efficient, and less inconvenient than any alternative (e.g. tolls) that's been proposed.

Pops
NORTH SALT LAKE, UT

True to a point, Prodicus. I think what KDave was pointing out was the correlation between gasoline usage and road usage has decreased significantly over time. That point is debatable, as heavier vehicles use more gasoline per mile AND produce more wear on the infrastructure. It's obviously a mistake, though, to not have a gasoline tax that somehow keeps pace with inflation.

I suspect that Secretary Chu's opinion is largely driven by a false belief that gasoline consumption drives the climate. Nobody has shown a correlation between temperature and atmospheric CO2 in empirical data. In fact, the only measurable impact of increased atmospheric CO2 is increased plant growth, which is very much a positive as it means higher crop yields. The real problem is emissions other than CO2 and H2O.

A big step forward would be to get government out of the business of impeding conversion of current vehicles to run on CNG. We need a way to fast-track government approval of conversion kits. Then we would indeed need some adjustment to how we fund highway construction and maintenance.

Allisdair
Thornbury, Vic

As a keen bicycle commuter I understand why car drivers dislike bikes, they are enraged by us cycling past them stuck in the traffic.

The bigger joke is how many drivers are heading for the Gym to work off the pounds on a stationary bike or treadmill.

@Pops Please go a do some research on the effects of a warming planet before running off with the Oil companies propaganda. Speak to the insurance companies who are increasing fees to cover the claims from more intense storm damage.

Strider303
Salt Lake City, UT

What would happen if the gas tax was used solely for highway maintenance? How would that change the equation? It is my understanding that we rob state and federal highway funds for mass transit uses. IF we were to create a separate tax for mass transit, and keep a gas tax only for highway building and maintenance, we would get a better idea of what increases would be necessary to maintain the road system. I agree that there must be an increase in the funding for roads because higher mpg relates to less gas consumed and less tax to pay for the roads. In the process we would get a better idea of the true costs of mass transit along the Wasatch Front. UTA needs oversight of some kind, I still think it is handy but as to costs, we are being taken for a ride, to the cleaners.

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