Tribune publishes readers’ responses to McCarron “war on cars” article

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If these CTA customers waiting for a bus had the option to take something faster, I’m sure they’d be interested. 

Ron Burke, executive director of Active Transportation Alliance, let us know today that the Chicago Tribune published four letters to the editor responding to John McCarron’s irritation that the City of Chicago is attempting to rebalance its transportation network to make cycling and walking safer, as well as provide new transit options (BRT).

Read those letters. Read Ron’s own letter.

Some excerpts:

Michael Harrington, Chicago

However, I do think that encouraging safe and responsible alternatives to driving is not only important but needed. If we are going to lessen the environmental impact of this city, there need to be fewer people driving by themselves on our roads. I don’t advocate a war on cars, but there are many benefits to bicycling (including being healthy, taking up less space, etc.), walking and the use of mass transit (although I realize that the CTA is deep in the red).

Bruno Bertocci, Chicago

Cars are large, take up a lot of room and require a great deal of infrastructure to maneuver and to park. Many, many bikes will fit in a relatively small space and require very little infrastructure to park. Bicycle owners pay the same taxes that finance the auto infrastructure, yet they consume very little of the total infrastructure.

It’s true: people who don’t drive pay for infrastructure that they won’t use: Elly Blue, I Pay Road Tax (a UK campaign).

Note

I was going to write that the Illinois Tollway is a fair transportation system because it’s only paid for by those who use it, but this may not be completely true. There are instances where the U.S. Department of Transportation will make grants for tolled roads, bridges, and tunnels, on the interstate highway system. These grants are majority funded by gas taxes, but as I pointed out in this infrastructure funding and financing article, the General Fund has covered the Highway Trust Fund’s deficits to the tune of $65 billion from 2008-2010.

The Illinois State Toll Highway Authority doesn’t consider grants part of revenue and therefore doesn’t include it in their budget documents. I’m still looking for information on how much grant funding the Authority has received. Lately, they received a little over $500,000 to “study how to integrate transit with managed lanes on the I-90 corridor”. And in 2003 they received $360,000 to study variable pricing tolls (which is in effect, but only for semi-truck drivers). So far I haven’t seen a grant that pays for construction or maintenance.

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