Interesting article in today's Spectator: it seems that Burlington is finally realizing what a massive subsidy the City provides to drivers, and is trying to recoup a little bit of this "negative externality" cost.
Effective April 12, the [Burlington] fire department started billing residents involved in a motor vehicle accident within city limits.
Under the city's fee structure - approved in the 2010 budget - a $350 flat rate will be divided among the drivers involved in an accident - regardless of who is at fault - in which the fire department responds.
And that's just the start.
The cost of materials used during accident response will also be divided among the drivers involved in the accident.
It's curious, however, that this charge would be reimbursed by the insurance companies, thus creating a new negative externality (although it is at least restricted to drivers).
It would seem to make more sense for these charges to be non-reimbursable by insurance companies, since they are not severe risks that should be spread over all drivers.
As has been pointed out on RTH in the past, the cost of automobile accidents (e.g. police and other emergency services, medical costs, damage to infrastructure, lost wages ...) is enormous and (up until now) has been mostly paid through general taxes rather than by taxes or charges paid directly by drivers.
Given Hamilton's large road network and shortage of funds for important projects, it would be gratifying to see Hamilton follow Burlington's lead. But don't hold your breath!
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