Comment 64873

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted June 14, 2011 at 00:45:01

The reason we drive so much isn't just about how much money is spent (publicly and privately)) on cars, but how the costs are structured. Driving is in most ways a flat-rate cost. Once you've got the car, driving it doesn't cost much.

If you own a car, you can choose to walk, cycle or bus to work. But while you do that (and pay the associated costs), your car will sit at home costing you money. It will still cost money to buy (and finance), insure, park, and licence. Many of these costs would haunt you for some time even if you sold your car tomorrow. The "marginal cost" of driving, once of you've paid all this, is very low - $0.10-15 per km in gas and a few bucks to park. In town or to many neighbouring cities, this is cheaper than a bus ride - even if you're alone. With four people in your car and $3 all-day parking downtown, you're looking at just a buck each to come in and return from the 'burbs. What would the costs actually look like if you had to pay them all at once, per km? Probably a lot more like cab-fare.

Toll roads help shift the cost to a more per-trip price, which would cut down on driving by car owners. On the other hand, more expenses are the last thing many working families in the area need, so I don't blame people for frowning. Not necessarily a reason not to toll roads, but a damn good one to make sure it's matched with changes (like better transit) which save people money.

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