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Should Cyclists Pay Excise Taxes?

Jonathan Maus, of Bike Portland, looks at the idea of charging an excise tax on bikes and cycling equipment: 2010 will be a year of major...


Jonathan Maus, of Bike Portland, looks at the idea of charging an excise tax on bikes and cycling equipment:
2010 will be a year of major discussions about how to finance America's transportation system. As the use of bicycles is taken more seriously and more money is spent on bike-centric facilities, calls for a revenue stream taken directly from people who ride bicycles - as opposed to the gas tax - are sure to grow louder.One idea that seems to be growing in support is a bicycle excise tax that would be charged at the point of sale of new bikes and/or bike parts.The idea is obviously popular with people who represent highway users, but I've noticed a growing number of high-profile bike advocates, politicians, and organizations express their support as well.
Those high-profile politicians include everyone's favorite cycling congressman, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who's been supporting cycling fees since last December.This seems like a good idea to me. First there's the simple issue of fairness. Anyone who uses the roads-not just drivers-should chip in. But, as Maus notes, it's also important to have cyclists paying taxes because our cities need better biking infrastructure and they'll have a more credible voice in city council meetings across America if they're contributing some money for the projects they're requesting.Photo (cc) from Flickr user Mr Michael Phams
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