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Mr Downtown Nov 11, 2009 9:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mwadswor (Post 4553077)
Gas taxes haven't covered the cost of highways, much less the cost of new construction, in decades. . . the idea that they are paid for purely by users is simply incorrect.

Depends on what you mean by highways. In this blog entry, a high-speed rail supporter uses my beloved Table HF-10 to "demolish the myth" that highways are paid for by their users. But table HF-10 uses the word highways to mean all roads and local streets, including the ones that used to be paid for 100 percent by general taxation. Seen in that light, a 21 percent shortfall doesn't seem so bad. Given the history, I think the best way to sum it up is that high-traffic highways are paid for entirely by their users, and motorists also pay a little more than half the cost of ordinary local streets, which we had long before the auto and will need for the foreseeable future.

ardecila Nov 11, 2009 11:29 PM

Well, at least in suburban areas, the model holds up. Local streets aren't paid for by a motor-related tax, but the homebuyers in new developments pay for the cost of their streets as part of their purchase price. These streets feed into collectors and arterials, whose cost is funded in part or in whole by fuel taxes.

This is part of the reason that street networks in subdivisions tend to be non-connective, since people who largely plan to use their cars do not want to pay for any more streets than are necessary. It also gives those people a strong sense of possession of their streets, which is one of the origins of the bugbear of "through traffic". Back in the 1800s, when streets weren't improved, just strips of dirt, it was easy to lay a street grid, because imposing it didn't raise the costs of lots or new homes substantially. Now that streets require drainage systems, complex pavement, utility lines, and sometimes sidewalks, it becomes far more expensive to lay a street grid.

VivaLFuego Nov 11, 2009 11:43 PM

^I would add that there are numerous other indirect subsidies to the "auto-oriented" lifestyle that are difficult to capture. One more obvious one is police and emergency protection, with of course many jurisdictions spending the bulk of their time dealing with traffic issues but being funded out of property taxes or general revenue funds, rather than exclusively out of the fuel tax. Illinois State Police actually used to be partially funded out of the fuel tax (amazing!) but that ended when part of the 2009 budget balancing raiding assorted funds to shovel money around to avoid cuts or tax increases(nod to mwadswor).

Other society-wide indirect subsidies that are even more difficult to monetize are in health insurance (i.e. we collectively pay higher health insurance rates to deal with treatment of injuries caused in auto accidents, the latter much more likely than getting injured on foot or in transit on a per trip basis), and of course land use regulations that ensure cross-subsidization of accessory parking.

ardecila Nov 12, 2009 1:10 AM

It makes sense for the state police to be funded out of fuel taxes if their primary job is patrolling the highways within the state. That's not indirect at all.

Healthcare, as you said, is really difficult to measure because we pool risk, and we each have different kinds of risk associated. Living in a city where car-free life is possible, my risk of crashing a car is low, but I am at higher risk for physical assault, respiratory conditions, or getting hit by a car while on foot. Since each person's individual habits are difficult to reduce into a questionnaire, it's nigh impossible to have a completely "fair" insurance system where each person pays according to their health risk. It's worse when you consider that poorer people tend to assume a greater risk, being more likely to live in high-crime areas, areas with environmental risks, work dangerous jobs, etc.

I guess my point is that there are plenty of risks inherent with any lifestyle, so including the healthcare costs of those risks is unfair when analyses of other societal forces do NOT take those costs into account. It skews the picture and makes driving look like some huge societal cost, when plenty of other things like cell-phone networks, libraries, and the electricity grid also affect societal costs indirectly.

Land use regulations aren't my favorite for the economic distortions they cause, but it's not as if Houston (the only major city with a substantial laissez-faire attitude toward land use) is some sort of ideal city. My annoyance at such regulations has more to do with the complexities they introduce into analysis, not their practical effect on cityscapes, since that effect depends on the content of the regulations and not their mere existence.

VivaLFuego Nov 12, 2009 2:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4553969)
It makes sense for the state police to be funded out of fuel taxes if their primary job is patrolling the highways within the state. That's not indirect at all.

That's my point - police funded by a fuel tax would be ideal, and we in Illinois had it, but Quinn ended it this year. But in most municipalities, the police and emergency medical are not funded by the drivers who necessitate them - i.e. indirect subsidization of driving.

Quote:

Land use regulations aren't my favorite for the economic distortions they cause, but it's not as if Houston (the only major city with a substantial laissez-faire attitude toward land use) is some sort of ideal city.
Houston mandates 1.33 off-street parking spaces per bedroom, and has a similarly high parking requirement for retail. Developments can also be denied on grounds of traffic modeling reducing the level of service on adjacent roads by a certain amount. So even though they don't have Euclidian Resi/Comm/Manu zoning classification, they still have development restrictions that ensure cross-subsidization of easy car use.

ardecila Nov 12, 2009 3:21 AM

^^ Yes, of course (should have known better than to bring up Houston around you) but those same restrictions about traffic impact, parking, and minimum square footage apply to most suburban municipalities around the country, who also exercise zoning at the same time. Houston's regulations are deliberately set up to create an auto-friendly and pedestrian/transit-hostile city, yes, but they are also set up to DISCOURAGE the kinds of rigid stratified patterns of income and land use that form in those other suburban areas around the country. As far as I can tell, based purely on anecdotal evidence, they have been successful at doing this.

Mr Downtown Nov 12, 2009 5:36 AM

I won't try to argue that motorists pay all indirect costs of driving. After all, that calculation depends on who's doing the calculating. Some car-haters include the costs of Mideast military operations. And I think including indirect costs obligates the accountant to include indirect benefits as well.

I will say, though, that the HF-10 calculation does attempt to include the cost of highway law enforcement. Medical costs for auto accident victims are mostly reimbursed by auto insurance—which is, of course, paid for entirely by motorists.

BVictor1 Nov 12, 2009 6:16 PM

If this was already posted I'm sorry...

http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/1...NEED12.article
November 12, 2009

Thumbs up to new expressway?


BY MICHAEL SNEED Sun-Times Columnist
It's a hot-button issue!

It's not official yet, but Sneed hears Gov. Quinn will give a "thumbs up" to construction of the Illiana Expy., a 30-mile superhighway that could cost $1 billion!

• The upshot: "The governor is ready to commit to the creation of the new expressway, which would connect Interstate 57 in Will County with Interstate 65 in Lake County, Ind.," a Quinn source said.

• $$$: "It would also be a huge economic opportunity for the south suburbs," he said. "Quinn plans to meet this month with Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who supports the project and has faced fierce opposition in the past."

• A privateshot? "It could be a public/private venture, but Quinn would like the creation of the expressway to become part of his legacy," the source added. "It would significantly cut traffic congestion and change the dynamic of the south suburbs."

(Word is the venture is already being eyed as an investment by a major pension fund outside Illinois.)

MayorOfChicago Nov 12, 2009 6:33 PM

So I see they're not passing through the fare increases, but are going ahead with the elimination of 9 express bus routes, reduction of service by up to 4 hours on 41 bus routes, and cutting service on most bus routes. The average wait time for a bus will increase 18% in 2010, and 9% for trains.

They're also borrowing funds for the 2010 budget. The state will pick up the interest expenses for the next two years, after which the CTA will be on the hook for $10 million a year in interest payments for the next three decades to pay for the 2010 operating budget shortfall.

So basically what everyone clarified - the Governor has said the CTA won't raise fares until after the next election - at which time they're on the hook for a total of $228 million in interest and principal payments to cover pushing off the 2010 budget crisis until future years.

So really we're going to have to raise fares in 2012 to not only cover what will probably still be funding issues that were never solved - but another $10M can be thrown into the bucket because of ignoring it in 2010.

Pisses me off so much. This state is so royally screwed in all aspects! We've been borrowing and running budget deficits at the state level every year since 2001. Next year is projected to be 11.2 billion. The CTA is having more and more debt piled on to cover operations.

I'm sadly doing a long term plan of how I'm going to get out of Illinois when this finally all becomes too much to handle. The state is seriously underwater pretty bad right now - and only going one way.

NO ONE in this state's leadership from the state to county to mayors are dealing with anything, just hiring more people, borrowing more money, handing out more patronage and pushing it to another election cycle.

Ciao Illinois

VivaLFuego Nov 12, 2009 6:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MayorOfChicago (Post 4555070)
NO ONE in this state's leadership from the state to county to mayors are dealing with anything, just hiring more people, borrowing more money, handing out more patronage and pushing it to another election cycle.

Ciao Illinois

Do you have any evidence of the bolded portions? Basically every state and local agency has been on a sharp downward trajectory in employee headcount since at least 2001.

e.g. City of Chicago employment has dropped from 40,324 in 2003 to 35,570 in 2008 and down to 33,154 proposed in 2010 (that's an 18% reduction in headcount). Cook County dropped from 27,042 in 2003 to 22,142 in 2008. Clearly the structural deficit issues aren't a result of spending binges on excess employees, and if you dig into dollar amounts it's not an excess of take-home pay either (except inasmuch as some unions' employee pension contributions are arbitrary rather than automatic/statutory based on the health of the pension fund). The cost escalations are mostly in health care and retirement, which are exactly the same primary drivers that are bankrupting the federal government, who also kick the can down the road as the preferred method of 'solving' the problem rather than deal with the root causes of the structural deficit.

Baronvonellis Nov 12, 2009 11:08 PM

Doesn't I-80 already connect I-57 to I-65 in that area? Why do they need another interstate connecting those two roads? CTA sure could use that billion dollars now.

OhioGuy Nov 12, 2009 11:19 PM

A billion dollars for the Illiana Expressway? I want a billion dollars for the CTA! (well preferably more than that).

Marcu Nov 12, 2009 11:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MayorOfChicago (Post 4555070)

Pisses me off so much. This state is so royally screwed in all aspects! We've been borrowing and running budget deficits at the state level every year since 2001. Next year is projected to be 11.2 billion. The CTA is having more and more debt piled on to cover operations.

I'm sadly doing a long term plan of how I'm going to get out of Illinois when this finally all becomes too much to handle. The state is seriously underwater pretty bad right now - and only going one way.

NO ONE in this state's leadership from the state to county to mayors are dealing with anything, just hiring more people, borrowing more money, handing out more patronage and pushing it to another election cycle.

Ciao Illinois


Perhaps you should do some research before moving. The tax burden in all the nearby states, including the supposedly more conservative Indiana, Iowa, and Missouri, is significantly higher. Illinois can solve much of its own problems and the CTA's problems with some form of pension reform and the implementation of the inevitable income tax increase. I personally think Iowa's tax rates are quite sensible. http://swz.salary.com/salarywizard/l...axrate_IA.html

ardecila Nov 13, 2009 2:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Baronvonellis (Post 4555623)
Doesn't I-80 already connect I-57 to I-65 in that area? Why do they need another interstate connecting those two roads? CTA sure could use that billion dollars now.

Because 80/94 (the Kingery) is possibly the busiest road in Chicagoland. The congestion ends around the point where the Tri-State splits off in Markham. West of that point, I-80 is pretty lightly traveled. I-57 is under-utilized all around. Redirecting traffic from I-65 onto these roads is a pretty smart move. Will County is banking on developing a heavy industrial presence around the Illiana and I-57.

The idea isn't a bad one overall, since it redistributes traffic more evenly over Chicagoland's road network. Even if the cost is a billion dollars (which isn't THAT much for a whole new road, these days) the cost should be picked up from Federal highway funds and toll revenue on the road itself. This isn't money that can somehow go towards transit.

The only obvious problem is the lack of an interchange at 57 and the Tri-State. A partial interchange is planned by the Tollway, but they're hoping for TIGER funds (ha!). Increased development along the road also virtually guarantees a much higher traffic level along the existing portions of 57, the widening of which is not included in that $1bn figure.

The road is probably justified to relive existing traffic, but it would also provide a convenient justification for the Peotone airport. :koko: Hopefully, the O'Hare project will relieve congestion there to the point where there's no support for a 3rd airport.

I'm assuming the road will be numbered as 157, but they may be able to get permission to use 355 (they plan to connect it to 355 at New Lenox eventually, completing Chicago's 2nd ring road).

denizen467 Nov 13, 2009 9:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4555929)
I'm assuming the road will be numbered as 157, but they may be able to get permission to use 355 (they plan to connect it to 355 at New Lenox eventually, completing Chicago's 2nd ring road).

I have always wondered about any plans or mention of this missing 355 gap, but have never been able to find anything. Where have you seen this actually mentioned?

Also, regarding usage of the "355" designation before the missing link is completed: Are you thinking that the connecting segments of 57 and 80 would have to be dual-designated with "355" ? Geometrically it would look awkward, but otherwise motorists on 355 would see their highway dead-end and would have to carefully follow signage instructing them to change highways 3 times before finding themselves back on 355 (do "interrupted" interstates exist anywhere?).

On the other hand, eventually when the missing link is completed, both IDOT and many businesses would have to very carefully remove years and years of accumulated signage/references to 355 following a partial route along 57/80 -- this is a recipe for confusion.

So I think giving Illiana "355" before ring road completion is not workable. It would make sense as a derivative of 57 or of 65. I think going off of 65 makes more sense because the Illiana is hoped to eventually extend NE to Valparaiso and Michigan City (assuming major local opposition can be overcome). Maybe it would be 165 -- although then maybe Indianapolis would want to claim that low number for spurs near it -- so maybe the numerically interesting "365" (e.g. "Peotone! Along 365, open 365 days year!"). On the other hand, 365 is too confuseable with 355...

Busy Bee Nov 13, 2009 3:32 PM

Here's a graphic I found showing the preliminary route, currently NOT included though is anything east of 65. I too was thinking that this really is a continuation of 355 forming an outer beltway all the way from I-65 in Indiana to I-90 after merging with 290.

http://www.tollroadsnews.com/image-a...lianabst2c.gif

Busy Bee Nov 13, 2009 3:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 4556365)
So I think giving Illiana "355" before ring road completion is not workable. It would make sense as a derivative of 57 or of 65. I think going off of 65 makes more sense because the Illiana is hoped to eventually extend NE to Valparaiso and Michigan City (assuming major local opposition can be overcome). Maybe it would be 165 -- although then maybe Indianapolis would want to claim that low number for spurs near it -- so maybe the numerically interesting "365" (e.g. "Peotone! Along 365, open 365 days year!"). On the other hand, 365 is too confuseable with 355...

According to wikipedia, the new lease of the Indiana Toll Road prohibits another competing toll road from coming within 10 miles of it. I guess its a pretty serious clause, because they later withdrew plans for Illiana to extend thru Valpo and end in Michigan City.

lawfin Nov 13, 2009 5:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MayorOfChicago (Post 4555070)

NO ONE in this state's leadership from the state to county to mayors are dealing with anything, just hiring more people, borrowing more money, handing out more patronage and pushing it to another election cycle.

Ciao Illinois

Ciao....
don't let the door hit you in the .....bum

get your facts straight

ardecila Nov 13, 2009 8:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 4556365)
Also, regarding usage of the "355" designation before the missing link is completed: Are you thinking that the connecting segments of 57 and 80 would have to be dual-designated with "355" ? Geometrically it would look awkward, but otherwise motorists on 355 would see their highway dead-end and would have to carefully follow signage instructing them to change highways 3 times before finding themselves back on 355 (do "interrupted" interstates exist anywhere?).

57 has no auxiliary routes currently. It is the longest interstate in the country that doesn't have any. The only major city along 57 is Chicago. (It links to Memphis, but dead-ends at I-55 150 miles north of Memphis). It makes sense to use a 57 number, and reserve numbers along 65 for growth in Indianapolis, Louisville, Nashville, Mobile, Montgomery, or Birmingham.

A 355 designation is unlikely without definite plans for the missing segment.

And yes, any extension of the Illiana east of I-65 was FIERCELY opposed by Northern Indiana, which doesn't want to become Chicago sprawl. Mitch Daniels officially canceled any plans for such a highway, which is pretty much pointless anyway...

mwadswor Nov 13, 2009 8:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by denizen467 (Post 4556365)
(do "interrupted" interstates exist anywhere?)

The 710 in California is sort of an interrupted freeway. It ends in Alhambra, there is a gap through South Pasadena, and then there is a short 710 in Pasadena going into the 210/134 interchange. It's a bit of a different situation though. It wasn't ever planned to be an interrupted freeway, but local opposition stopped construction in South Pasadena in the 1960s. Recently, they've been talking about just tunneling under South Pasadena to complete the freeway.


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