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  1. #1
    Slo Spoke Jim kjc9640's Avatar
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    Bicyclists protest at AAA's HQ

    The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization supporting walking and biking paths, biked to AAA headquarters in Lake Mary Monday morning to deliver petitions to get the motoring group to support the idea of using gas tax money for more trails. Recently, a AAA executive said the Highway Trust Fund should spend money only on interstates, not stuff like bike trails.

    Link to complete article.

    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/...,1581019.story
    SloSpoke Jim

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    Wasn't the whole purpose of a gas tax in the first place to help fund automotive related roads and infrastructure? Wouldn’t they have to establish a tax on Cyclists and then use that money or general fund money for non gas related highway expenses? It is called the federal “fuel” tax isn’t it? Plus isn’t the AAA the American “Automobile” Association? It might be different if all of the cyclists were paying AAA dues.

    I agree we need more rails to trails but I am not sure AAA is the go to company for that. Maybe if they protested Ford, Toyota or BMW?

  3. #3
    The Professor akohekohe's Avatar
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    Well ... this is sort of more A&S if you ask me ... not that we don't do everything in 50+ but A&S topic threads tend to become less civil ... my take, as long as AAA isn't pressing to ban bicycles from the road I say let sleeping dogs lie ... they start trying to ban us that is another story ...
    The more you drive the less intelligent you are. - Tracy Walter as Miller in Repo Man.

  4. #4
    Oh! That British Bloke .. ThatBritBloke's Avatar
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    In the UK competitive and recreational cyclists have a higher rate of car ownership than the general population. Most road users can tick several categories from pedestrian to trucker via cycling, carriage-driving and the rest.

    The improvement of any particular user facility benefits the rest however obliquely.
    Alan

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  5. #5
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Here is the response I received after writing to AAA several weeks ago.

    "Thank you for your comments...

    I too am also a pedal cyclist, hardcore, [mt.biker and road biker], and a co-ride leader of our bike club, car owner and AAA Member as well. I personally use a local rail-to-trails pathway. However, there is some miss information about AAA out there that is just not true! I am assuming that you are referring to a Rails-to-Trails Conservancy statement made by its president Keith Laughlin, against a Mid-Atlantic AAA club editorial, with his perception that AAA is against bike trails, is totally false.

    AAA has been a driving force involving transportation for over 100 years and is committed to providing safety, security and peace of mind for the traveling public. We advocate for safer, efficient transportation systems and its infrastructure. Contrary to what is asserted, nowhere was it said that we, AAA, should not fund bike trails,[or hiking trails, sidewalks, museums or mass transit] It is unfortunate that this false agenda is carried to the extreme and miss information is being promoted to further a conservancy position, whatever that is.

    I would hope that you can be open to the facts of this matter and continue to be a valued AAA member, which we are very grateful for. Thank you

    Most Sincerely,

    Craig H. Smith
    Director Public Relations/Safety
    Editor/Administrator SYC&S"
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  6. #6
    Oh! That British Bloke .. ThatBritBloke's Avatar
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    Did they really say "miss information"?
    Alan

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    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatBritBloke View Post
    Did they really say "miss information"?
    It's a direct quote.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright
    Favorite rides in the stable: Indy Fab CJ Ti - Colnago MXL - S-Works Roubaix - Habanero Team Issue - Jamis Eclipse carbon/831

  8. #8
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatBritBloke View Post
    Did they really say "miss information"?
    She is the sister of "miss quoted"

  9. #9
    Roadkill byte_speed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    She is the sister of "miss quoted"
    Miss information - Advice from the teenage daughter.

  10. #10
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    .... snip....

    I agree we need more rails to trails but I am not sure AAA is the go to company for that. Maybe if they protested Ford, Toyota or BMW?
    Ford, Toyota and BMW have not made proposals that endanger a long-standing funding stream for trails.

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  11. #11
    z90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    Wasn't the whole purpose of a gas tax in the first place to help fund automotive related roads and infrastructure?
    Yes, but the purpose of the tax has changed several times since its initial establishment. I don't see that as a bad thing
    Last edited by z90; 12-14-10 at 08:42 AM.

  12. #12
    z90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    Wouldn’t they have to establish a tax on Cyclists and then use that money or general fund money for non gas related highway expenses? It is called the federal “fuel” tax isn’t it?
    By this logic, the cigarette tax should be used only to fund the encouragement of smoking cigarettes.

  13. #13
    z90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    Plus isn’t the AAA the American “Automobile” Association? It might be different if all of the cyclists were paying AAA dues.

    I agree we need more rails to trails but I am not sure AAA is the go to company for that. Maybe if they protested Ford, Toyota or BMW?
    AAA is a special interest group advocating that money from the Highway Trust Fund that is currently available to fund thing like bike paths (and has been for 20 years) should no longer be available for those purposes. That is what the argument is about. It's a pretty specific fight, and it wouldn't make much sense to protest anyone else, since AAA is the organization that is advocating that position.

  14. #14
    z90
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    By the way, if you don't like AAA's aggressive pro-auto lobbying, but you want their services, there is an alternative:
    http://www.betterworldclub.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by z90 View Post
    Yes, but the purpose of the tax has changed several times since its initial establishment. I don't see that as a bad thing
    Yes, politicians decided to use a funding source (which was sold as a "user fee") for a purpose other than what the user fee was intended to fund... What a surprise.

    Of course the Highway trust fund has been significantly underfunded for decades as a result, which is the main reason it has had to be supplemented by general funds in recent years, and is all but bankrupt... It is the main reason so many states have turned to Toll roads to pay for the needed transportation infrastructure.

    It is also the reason, more than half of the transportation structures in the US are now rated as "below standard" which is engineering speak for getting ready to fall down. Think of that the next time you cross a bridge.

  16. #16
    Slo Spoke Jim kjc9640's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akohekohe View Post
    Well ... this is sort of more A&S if you ask me ... not that we don't do everything in 50+ but A&S topic threads tend to become less civil ... my take, as long as AAA isn't pressing to ban bicycles from the road I say let sleeping dogs lie ... they start trying to ban us that is another story ...
    You are correct this should be an A & S topic but I felt that since it was first discussed in the 50+ forum some people might be interested in the followup. It might not be to far off that banning bikes from streets could happen. I think a town in Co. has attempted this already.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...&highlight=AAA
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  17. #17
    z90
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    Quote Originally Posted by myrridin View Post
    Yes, politicians decided to use a funding source (which was sold as a "user fee") for a purpose other than what the user fee was intended to fund... What a surprise.

    Of course the Highway trust fund has been significantly underfunded for decades as a result, which is the main reason it has had to be supplemented by general funds in recent years, and is all but bankrupt... It is the main reason so many states have turned to Toll roads to pay for the needed transportation infrastructure.

    It is also the reason, more than half of the transportation structures in the US are now rated as "below standard" which is engineering speak for getting ready to fall down. Think of that the next time you cross a bridge.
    The primary reason the highway trust fund is "underfunded" is not because of the relatively tiny amount that has been allocated to bike lanes. It's because the tax hasn't been adjusted for inflation since 1993. Additionally, Americans have been driving less.
    Last edited by z90; 12-14-10 at 09:43 AM.

  18. #18
    Slo Spoke Jim kjc9640's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    It might be different if all of the cyclists were paying AAA dues.

    I agree we need more rails to trails but I am not sure AAA is the go to company for that. Maybe if they protested Ford, Toyota or BMW?
    I did not save the e-mail from R to T that addressed this, but by there numbers over 60% of the people that signed the petition were AAA members.
    I think this is a very high ratio vs membership to population.
    SloSpoke Jim

  19. #19
    z90
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjc9640 View Post
    I did not save the e-mail from R to T that addressed this, but by there numbers over 60% of the people that signed the petition were AAA members.
    I think this is a very high ratio vs membership to population.
    Yep, Here's the link.

  20. #20
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatBritBloke View Post
    Did they really say "Miss Information"?
    Yeah, she's their booth babe.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
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  21. #21
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by z90 View Post
    By this logic, the cigarette tax should be used only to fund the encouragement of smoking cigarettes.
    Ha! True enough but perhaps a better example from my field, recreation, would hold that all revenues from public golf courses should be kept in a "lock box" only for the improvement of golf courses and not for such things as better kids playgrounds or park maintenance and the like. In other words, "let them institute user fees for playgrounds", etc. if they want to improve those things. It just seems clear to me that some things just have the potential to raise revenue and others, that may have equal claims to being a "public good or benefit" really don't. Can we create a revenue stream and corresponding "lock box" for every public good?

    Then there is the issue of land taken or held out of private ownership (and the local tax base) for golf or roads and whether that creates a nexus to the larger "public good" issue.

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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by z90 View Post
    By this logic, the cigarette tax should be used only to fund the encouragement of smoking cigarettes.
    But I don't believe any private company is under any obligation to promote something they don't wish to. They sure wouldn’t support increased business taxes I shouldn’t think. There is no law yet that I know of that requires anyone to have the same opinion or support the same cause. In fact they have every right to oppose any cause they want as well.
    We don’t have enough money for the support of infrastructure of our highways from the gas tax to start with. Taking any away seems counterproductive from that standpoint. I guess if you required cyclist to insure their bikes with AAA they would be more responsive rather than having to rely on their charity to support a position. Still if one individual in a company doesn’t agree with a stand on how taxes are spent I hardly feel it calls for brown shirt tactics to change their minds. If people don’t like their business stand I believe there are other insurance companies out there aren’t there?

    Still the gas tax was established as a user tax. It doesn’t meet the needs it was designed for in the first place and seems like a very unlikely source for non gas related building projects. It is nothing more than robbing Peter to pay Paul.

    The cigarette Tax by the way is an excise tax so it has nothing to do with making smoking easier or promoting it.

    But I don't believe any private company is under any obligation to promote something they don't wish to. They sure wouldn’t support increased business taxes I shouldn’t think. There is no law yet that I know of that requires anyone to have the same opinion or support the same cause. In fact they have every right to oppose any cause they want as well.
    We don’t have enough money for the support of infrastructure of our highways from the gas tax to start with. Taking any away seems counterproductive from that standpoint. I guess if you required cyclist to insure their bikes with AAA they would be more responsive rather than having to rely on their charity to support a position. Still if one individual in a company doesn’t agree with a stand on how taxes are spent I hardly feel it calls for brown shirt tactics to change their minds. If people don’t like their business stand I believe there are other insurance companies out there aren’t there?

    Still the gas tax was established as a user tax. It doesn’t meet the needs it was designed for in the first place and seems like a very unlikely source for non gas related building projects. It is nothing more than robbing Peter to pay Paul.

    The cigarette Tax by the way is an excise tax so it has nothing to do with making smoking easier or promoting it.

    Complaining about AAA stand on highway funding is like complaining about TV programming. If you don’t like it change the channel, turn off the TV. If you don’t like how an automotive insurance company lobbies shouldn’t a person simply not use that company?

  23. #23
    z90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    Still if one individual in a company doesn’t agree with a stand on how taxes are spent I hardly feel it calls for brown shirt tactics to change their minds.
    Brown shirt tactics? I don't think petitions and discourse in the media constitutes brown shirt tactics. That's pretty much democracy and free speech in action. You just Godwined this thread. Nice job.


    Godwin's Law
    "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress.

  24. #24
    z90
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    Or a brown shirt. And neither am I, or Rails to Trails, or AAA.

  25. #25
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    IBTM

    Mods - please move this before I say something I'm gonna regret!
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