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4253895321_a93721f16a.jpgThe city of Tucson has some
nice-looking bicycle infrastructure. Now the City Council is looking at
imposing bike registration fees, even though the system wouldn’t even
pay for itself. (Photo: Steven Vance
via Flickr)

Two different methods of making bicycle riders pay for roads came
over the feed on the Streetsblog Network over the last day. 

First, Tucson
Velo
writes that the Tucson City Council is discussing a fee of $10
to register bicycles with the city, part of a much larger
budget-balancing package. The council voted to take up the idea even
though the city manager recommended against it — since it apparently
would not even pay for itself. Council members won’t let that stop them
from considering it.

But there’s bigger bicycle tax talk out there on the national level,
as Jonathan Maus reports at Bike
Portland
:

2010 will be a year of major
discussions
about how to finance America’s transportation system.
As the use
of bicycles is taken more seriously
and more money is spent on
bike-centric facilities, calls for a revenue stream taken directly from
people who ride bicycles — as opposed to the gas tax — are sure to grow
louder.

One idea that seems to be growing in support is a bicycle excise tax
that would be charged at the point of sale of new bikes and/or bike
parts.

The idea is obviously popular with people
who represent highway users
, but I’ve noticed a growing number of
high-profile bike advocates, politicians, and organizations express
their support as well.

In a
story in The Oregonian this week
, City of Portland bike coordinator
Roger Geller said, “There’s a symbolic value to cyclists paying.”
Reporter Joseph Rose added that Geller, “likes the idea of a small
excise tax on new bikes, tires or inner tubes.”…

Noted Portland bike lawyer Ray Thomas thinks the BTA and the League
of American Bicyclists should make a bike tax a priority. “When
bicyclists can point to tax they pay toward roads,” Thomas wrote
in a comment
on BikePortland in 2008, “… then we will have a real
seat at the transportation table.”

The Bike Portland post has a monster comment thread that summarizes
many of the arguments for and against the various types of taxes that
might be levied on people who ride bicycles. This type of idea comes up
on a regular basis (discussions from last spring can be found here
and here),
and it doesn’t seem to be going away. What do you think of the idea of
an excise or other tax on bikes?

More from around the network: Let’s
Go Ride a Bike
has an open thread about how to buy a bike on a
budget; head over and add your advice. Reimagine
an Urban Paradise
is looking for stories of bicycle love. And The
Dirt
reports on plans for freeway-capping parks in Los Angeles.

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