Thursday, May 10, 2012

Transportation Subsidies

Overheard in the public library:
          "Do you have any train schedules?"
          "Yes, those would be in the fiction section."
          "Also, do you know how much the train was to have cost?"
          "That would also be in fiction."

It's funny, light rail costs are justified by comparing them to highway subsidies, which doesn't relate and no one seems to understand, but it's really simple. Take two people, Juan and Maria. Juan gets everywhere by car. Maria uses public transportation; she doesn't even have a driver's license.

When Juan pays for a gallon of gas in Minnesota, 27.1 cents is a MN tax and 18.4¢ is the U.S. tax (15.44¢ goes to the Highway Trust Fund). He also paid a MN excise tax when he bought his car, tires, his license plates, for the renewal of his driver's license, and for his car tabs (annual renewal of the license plates). Juan is also an independent truck driver, paying similar diesel taxes and licenses and for the purchase of the truck, and paying the U.S. Heavy Vehicle Use Tax based on his mileage. Plus, he owns a house and is assessed for local road repairs and maintenance for his adjacent road.

Maria pays a fare when she rides the bus and light rail.

Juan knows his business, but he never added up all that he contributes to American roads until right now. He's taking it well.

We're going to tell Juan how much he's paying for the Hiawatha Line ($715.3 million+, not finalized) and Central Corridor ($957 million, so far) and several more light rail lines (Southwest $1.25 billion?) around the Twin Cities. Let's watch him derail.

          Hiawatha Line costs
          Central Corridor adds $11 million
          U.S. light rail costs
          Transportation Subsidies
          Going Nowhere Slowly & Northstar Rail
          Southwest Corridor private property buy-up (Government Waste, Fraud )

          Boston (MBTA)              2011 fares $448,814,000    expenses $1,679,227,000
          San Francisco (SFMTA) 2011 fares $178,100,000    expenses    $785,700,000
          Philadelphia (SEPTA)      2011 fares $439,400,000    expenses $1,580,600,000

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