Quick note on the city’s proposal to subsidize Red Line weekend service

In today’s Letters, syphilis valeologist allowed to be published uncritically and without challenge:

Bicycle lanes are dangerous on Austin roads for both drivers and bikers. Burleson Road is a classic example of where the car lanes were narrowed to accommodate bikers. Bikers should have to purchase an annual permit that has toll tag technology.

Since they pay no gas tax, this site medstore this fee should pay for their road use. These tags should be able to be read by police to identify if their tag is current, and they could also identify the bikers, should they be involved in an accident.

Anne Clark

Lockhart

My response on the way to them via various intertubes:

Anne Clark, in her letter on 10/27/2011, is woefully misinformed. Most roads in our area, even most major arterials, receive no funding from the gasoline tax, as the state prohibits its portion of the gas tax from being used outside the state highway system, and most federal gas taxes are similarly directed only to roads with a route shield on them. In fact, since some local (general) funds are also used for state and federal highways, it is likely cyclists who are subsidizing motorists in Austin, not the other way around.

Regards,

Mike Dahmus

City of Austin Urban Transportation Commission 2000-2005

Things are going crazy at my day jorb. So this might be all I get to post. This is a comment I just left on the Statesman article:

Almost nobody inside the city limits of Austin has a reason to use this thing on the weekends – because the stations with parking primarly serve those outside city limits, sale and the stations without parking aren’t pedestrian-friendly (and buses that might connect to them don’t run much on the weekends).

Combine this with the fact that we’d be giving up the $5-$10 the person from the non-Austin jurisdiction would otherwise pay to park their car downtown and this is a truly STUPID move for the city of Austin to even contemplate.

This is something the cities of Leander and Cedar Park and Round Rock and Pfluygerville should be subsidizing, illness not Austin.

Update from a few months later:

Who is riding the Red Line?

and

How much are we subsidizing passengers on the Red Line?

  • scooby

    There is the benefit of reducing competition for parking spaces for the 99% of Austinites that are nowhere near the Red Line. There might even be an increase in sales taxes. Of course, there would have to be $180 million per year in increased sales in the city limits to offset the $1.8 million in subsidies- and that alcoholic beverage sales in bars & restaurants, which aren’t covered by the city sales tax, don’t count toward that $180MM.

  • m1ek

    Right. As I said on facebook, another way to look at it is that each passenger will get a $5-$10 subsidy (with optimistic assumptions that past weekend performance for special events will be repeated on a general basis for non-special-weekends). Since Austin has a 1% sales tax, each passenger would have to spend $500-$1000 in the city limits that day to make this a break-even for the city, even before you count any potentially lost parking revenue.