There have been a few threads recently about taxing cyclists. Today KATU news aired an email from a viewer about the proposed GPS determined mileage tax here in Oregon. The viewer claimed the talk of additional motorist taxes made his "blood boil" and that "cyclists should be taxed instead of getting a free ride", or words to that effect.
I am extremely keen on reasonable taxes for both motorists and cyclists that are based on usage of infrastructure, but only if property taxes are reduced proportionately.
In both cases such reasonable taxes would be based on vehicle weight and miles traveled.
The current proposal for vehicles in Oregon is based on the use of an in-car GPS unit that communicates with gasoline pumps to report the number of miles driven. The inclusion of vehicle factory weight as opposed to actual weight ought to be a trivial matter.
Example cost for motorist: a 2,000 lb vehicle traveling 12,000 miles, gives 24 million lb-miles per annum, and at 0.1 cents per pound-mile a tax of $24,000
For cyclists, determining distance traveled is obviously a challenge, as is collecting the tax since cyclists do not visit gasoline pumps Cyclists do on the other hand purchase bicycle tires, internet orders aside it would be a trivial matter to add a small tax to bicycle tires.
Example cost for cyclist: a 28 lb vehicle traveling 1,000 miles, gives 56,000 lb-miles per annum, and at 0.1 cents per pound-mile a tax of $28 (or $14 per tire).
Edit: Cyclist tax would be discounted for:
- roads not accessible to cyclists (Interstates)
- reduced costs to society associated with cycling health benefits.
- reduced costs to society associated with cleaning up and investigating accidents
Resulting in tax credit to cyclists of $14 per tire.