Today’s Headlines

  • BOS Prez David Chiu Lines Up Votes to Reject Muni Budget (SF Gate, SF Examiner, SFBG)
  • Snapping Photos on Muni Property Can Get You in Trouble (What I’m Seeing)
  • Do Tourists Ride Replacement Buses When Cable Cars Are Broken? (SF Weekly)
  • More on BART’s Plans to Upgrade Trains (ABC7)
  • BART Says Test Run of Program to Pay Fares With Cell Phones a Success (KCBS)
  • James Oberstar Gives Preview of House Transpo Bill (Reuters via Infrastructurist)
  • Brookings: Fund Transpo With VMT Tax + Congestion Pricing (Bellows via Streetsblog.net)
  • Berkeley City Council Passes Climate Action Plan on Unanimous Vote (SF Gate)
  • Palo Alto Neighborhood Backs City’s First Residential Parking Permit Program (Merc
  • East Palo Alto to Restripe Crosswalks Where Girl Was Killed (Merc)
  • Portland Mayor Says He’ll Try Living Car-Free (Oregon Live via The Overhead Wire)
  • At first I was annoyed by the idea of a VMT (vehicle mileage tax) since gas taxes are so much simpler to collect and do the best job of discouraging carbon emissions. But the idea won’t die because of the sense of injustice that hybrids and electric cars (all six of them on the road right now) don’t seem to be paying their fare share to support the roads.

    After some reflection, I think a VMT would be okay as long as it’s prorated based on the weight of the vehicle. After all, it’s the weight of the vehicle that causes the wear and tear on the roads, so it’s ridiculous a Smart Car (1609 lbs) should have to pay the same amount of road repair tax as a Humvee (5200lbs). With a weight-based prorate,a Prius (2932 lbs) would pay 54% of the tax that a Range Rover would pay (5465 lbs).

    Even though if we were remotely concerned about climate change and the possible collapse of our very civilization we would place a serious carbon tax on all fossil fuel, at least a weight-based VMT would discourage gas-guzzlers (since they tend to be heavier) as well as encourage people to turn to transportation options other than private vehicles altogether. If the VMT goes forward, we must hold politicians feet to the fire and require it be prorated by weight. It’s only fair.

  • Road damage is, I believe, proportional to the fourth power of gross vehicle weight, so that Hummer would be paying twelve times more than the Prius in your example.

    See “The AASHO Road Test”, 1962

  • just got a response from Muni. you can read it here: http://bit.ly/lSIDg

    thanks, all, for your comments and support. happy shooting!!