Monday, December 14, 2009

I've said it before...

...but roads are at least as subsidized as transit, and a new report from the Pew subsidiary Subsidyscope today demonstrates it nicely. At their height, highways were paid for by around 71% user fees (gas taxes, registration fees, etc.), and today these fees account for less than half of all highway spending. This is a level of subsidy slightly higher than Metrolink (as Metrolink users pay for ~50% of the service through fares, but ~10% of costs are covered by miscellaneous income such as trackage rights).

And let's make sure this is clear- this report is talking only about HIGHWAYS. Most of that gas tax that you (or your less enlightened friends, if you're car-free) pay goes into highways, which leaves surface streets to be taken care of by sales taxes, property taxes, and other outlays from the local government's general fund. The Victoria Transportation Policy Institute estimates that user fees account for less than 4% of local street expenditures. Remember, RTA riders pay a state-mandated 20% of the cost of their ride.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

News Release

December 16, 2009

‘Riverside Go Transit’ Offers Significant Savings to Ride Bus
Savings of up to 30% off retail price of Riverside Transit Agency tickets

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Recent City Council action is giving Riverside residents extra incentive to leave their cars in the garage and use public transportation, thanks to a new program dubbed ‘Riverside Go Transit.’ The goal of the program is to help take cars off the road and increase use of public transportation.

This program offers all Riverside residents the opportunity to purchase Riverside Transit Agency bus passes from the City at substantial savings: 30 day passes will be discounted by 30% and 7 day passes at 25%. This will drop the price of the 30 day general use pass from $50 to $35, and the 7 day pass from $16 to $12. The program will officially begin on Monday December 14th.

“Reducing air pollution and helping relieve traffic congestion is what this program is all about,” said Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge. “Recently named California’s first Emerald City by the Department of Conservation, this program is further evidence of Riverside’s clean and green focus.”

The program will be funded with resources provided to Riverside by Assembly Bill 2766 (AB 2766), which was adopted by the State of California to provide a revenue source to jurisdictions to reduce air pollution from motor vehicles. Previous uses of these funds in Riverside includes the synchronization of traffic lights along major arterials to limit idling, and the Citywide Alternate Fuel Vehicle Rebate which encourages the purchase of hybrid and natural gas vehicles by city residents.

"Not only is this program a great way to encourage public transportation, it also comes during a time of high gas prices and economic challenges for many families," said Riverside Transit Agency Chairman of the Board Karen Spiegel. "We are pleased to work with the City of Riverside to make this important program a reality."

Passes can be purchased online by visiting, or in person at the 4th floor Public Works counter in City Hall at 3900 Main St., Riverside, CA 92522.