Cyclists Pay Fair Share

RECEIVED Mon., July 12, 2010

Dear Editor,
    After reading several letters to the Chronicle asserting that bicyclists don't pay their fair share for road improvements or general roadway maintenance, I did some research on that issue. The fact is that all local road maintenance is paid for by city of Austin Transportation User Fees, fees paid by every Austin Energy and Austin Water customer within Austin. That means that everyone who pays a water or electricity bill, including cyclists, pays into this fund. Road maintenance includes normal resurfacing of roadways and the repainting of lane lines. When bicycle lanes are added to the roadway during routine maintenance, the paint used to create the bike lanes and related stencils and signs are paid for by voter-approved bicycle-specific bond funding, which is paid for with property taxes. So whether you are a renter or homeowner, motorist or bicyclist, you pay into Transportation User Fees and for transportation bonds authorized by Austin voters.
    Fees paid by motorists for registration and licensing or gasoline taxes are not distributed locally but are used for state and federal highway construction and maintenance. While cyclists may use these roads, most of them are motorists as well and thus pay for their construction and maintenance. The reality is that cyclist use of any roadway results in far less wear and tear on it, so you could justifiably say that cyclists pay a disproportionate share compared to motorists if they don't drive. Bicyclists have every right, as well as responsibility, of a motor vehicle driver, and we pay our fair share to use the roads.
Hill Abell
Bicycle Sport Shop
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