A nice little calculation by Maryland-based transportation researcher Ben Kaufman (at his Medium website) finds that “a $.01 gas tax provides more than the annual federal funding for all cycling- and pedestrian-specific projects combined.”
He notes that nobody should hold their breath for such a national spending structure to be implemented, but that local governments could find ways to become leaders on this front and get ahead of the competition.
Kaufman calls out the Washington D.C./Maryland/Virginia region as a possible taker:
Local implementation could let the DMV lead the way.
D.C. Mayor Bowser recognizes that we cannot continue to grow as a city with gridlock. With projected trip growth of 24 percent by 2040, moving people out of their cars and onto their feet and pedals is all the more pertinent. Providing a safe place to bike and walk is of increasing importance. Drivers in the DMV are aware of the incessant traffic issues (ranked 18th worst in the world) and should support funding for other modes of transportation. Each person who opts to bike or walk is one less person causing traffic on our roads.
Drivers in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia purchased 6.9 billion gallons of gas in 2016. That $69 million in missed revenue could go a long way towards funding bike lanes in the DMV and getting people out of their cars.
Nationally, there were 147 billion gallons of gas purchased in the U.S. in 2016. That is a staggering amount of gasoline. This fuel provides people with access to their needs such as work, food, and recreation. Implementing large taxes without providing alternative opportunities or means of transport is not a possibility without decreasing quality of life for millions of people.
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Photo by Chris Yarzab/Flickr.