Friday, March 13, 2009

Close minded rednecks, please shut up

After hearing the 'argument' quite a few times in the past (sometimes accompanied by a shout, a middle finger, and/or an empty beer can - but I digress) that 'cyclists' somehow don't pay taxes, and therefore are not supposed to be using state roads, I decided to do some research. See, I had a nasty hunch that vehicle registration fees are only a small part of the Dept. of Transportation (DOT)'s overall budget.

So here goes... for LOTS more info please see this link.

Quick history: all registration fees, gas taxes, and tons of other stuff are collected and managed in the State Highway Users Tax Fund, so you'll see that mentioned below.

The entire budget for DOT for 2008 was ~$1.1 Billion.
Of that, the State Highway Users Tax Fund only accounted for 39.3% of that.

Now, the State Highway Users Tax Fund is broken down into many slices of pie. The biggest two are: (and this is proposed for 2009 i think)
- 68% Fuel Tax
- ~32% 'Other' (This includes registration fees and 'other')-couldnt find exact breakdown, so we'll use this entire figure just to be conservative.

So, taking this slice of the pie 32% of our original 39.3% of the entire budget now leaves us with 12.8% of the entire DOT budget.

Moving on, lets assume that 75% of bicycle owners also own a vehicle of some sort (trucks, cars, motorcycles, airplanes). *I cannot find this breakdown, so this is my guess, I would love to find info on this, but I don't think its tracked

So taking our assumed 25% of green cyclists (and therefore assuming that 75% are out of the picture because they own a vehicle and ARE paying registration / license fees), we'll take 25% of our 12.8% of the DOT budget and are left with:
These rogue cyclists, who don't choose to own a vehicle are only affecting ~3.2% of the entire budget.

But wait! we're not done. These people *could* contribute by way of Park Fees, Gaming Licenses, or Sales and Use tax.

So lets just for arguments sake say we're down to 2.5%-3% of the entire DOT yearly budget being affected by these malfeasants.
So we're really whittling down the actual people out on the roads who have NOT contributed to the DOT budget, and therefore are justified in using the state roads.
I guess I should NOT attempt to stir the pot and point out that many of our fine car/truck weilding co-inhabitants have allowed their registrations to lapse, or don't have all vehicles registrations up to date (howz that boat trailer doing back behind the garage?).

Where do we go from here. Well, I ask a few things of our closed minded redneck fellow Americans and residents of Colorado.

a) SHUT UP! The blather coming out of your mouths is spewing about an assumption thats incorrect approximately 97-98% of the time. (or you could say what you're saying is 97% just plain wrong)

b) Say what you really mean!!!! If you DO feel compelled to yell, drive really close to trying to scare, and love to generally assault cyclists, at least give us the courtesy of saying what really bothers you about us. Get it off your chest, let us know what you're really thinking. If you like how our clothes fit tight, and yours are to baggy (and you're worried about your buddies picking on you), say so. If seeing others excercise causes you to have low self esteem about your beer gut, please yell that. Perhaps its because our bikes are shiny and your truck needs a paint job, don't know.
Its only fair.

See you on the road ......


Aharmon said...

I commend your research. I am in no way against driving a car, as I do it multiple times per week. However, if everyone rode a bike, the taxes/fees (including those paid by this guy who felt compelled to remind Jen that he pays them) would be drastically less. A huge contributing factor to road wear, and thus the cost of maintaining roads, is related to the volume and SIZE of vehicles that use the road, quite obviously.
Unfortunately, explaining this to this gentleman may be similar to discussing aerospace design with a toddler.

Charlie Suthard said...

Nice research and absolutely true. However, if the "close minded redneck" did ever give you a chance to discuss this with them, I fear the conversation may not go too well :)

It is probably worth doing the necessary reseach to find out exactly where 100% of the budget for roads, etc. comes from so we can educate those that harass us. I will see what I can find in the next week.

Aharmon said...

Clearly, if cyclists paid an annual $50 or even $100 fee for local road improvements these socially conscious aggressive drivers, would be happy to show us all courtesy on the road.

Surely they're reasonable people, right?