Yesterday, Representative Earl Blumenaur announced legislation proposing greater operations funding for transit agencies and a variety of incentives to help people shift to non-auto modes, including extending tax breaks for commuting choices to the self-employed.
Coverage from the Oregonian and Bike Portland.
0 responses to “Earl Tackles Gas Prices from the Demand Side”
So, I guess people who have to drive to differing places of employment—-construction workers, salespeople, substitute teachers, landscapers, self employed tradesmen–will be SOL?
How about approving oil exploration in a few square mile section of the Coastal Plain of the 30,000 square mile ANWR?
“At its widest points, the Coastal Plain is about 100 miles across and about 30 miles deep and covers an area slightly larger than the state of Delaware. Along the coastal area, the plain is an almost featureless expanse, barren and dotted with thousands of unconnected small ponds; the area to the south becomes gently rolling, treeless hills which merge into foothills and then into the northern edges of the Brooks Range.”
How about approving oil exploration in a few square mile section of the Coastal Plain of the 30,000 square mile ANWR?
Oil exploration doesn’t do anything for us for ten years or more.
Blumenaur’s bill does provide near-immediate relief for those who qualify.
I believe that we’d be better off taking the resources you suggest putting into fossil-fuel exploration and investing it instead in developing the next generation of energy. Let’s work towards weaning ourselves off oil rather than spending money to delay the inevitable.
I’m certainly not trying to say that Earl’s bill is perfect. Personally I think it is absurd to allow tax credits for homeowners that choose to live near transit but not for renters who also have chosen to live near transit. I find it more than a little backwards that I do not deserve to be rewarded for making the same environmentally- and socially- conscious decision about the location of the residence that I chose as somebody who bought their dwelling near transit – simply because I decided that purchasing a dwelling was not prudent for whatever reason.
As is the case often with legislation, it is a step in the right direction but it can’t be everything to everybody. I believe that it’s vitally important to provide operational support to transit agencies in the US since most are being hit really hard by the cost of diesel. In this very blog we’ve criticized agencies for contemplating service reductions to save on fuel costs since there is a glut of potential new ridership that would be lost in the service cuts. If this legislation can offset the loss of service facing many agencies across the US then I believe it should become law.
Joseph Edge says
“I believe that we’d be better off taking the resources you suggest putting into fossil-fuel exploration and investing it instead in developing the next generation of energy”
Oh. Do you own stock in oil companies giving you a say-so in what they invest in or have the geological expertise to advise them where to find their product?
“Personally I think it is absurd to allow tax credits for homeowners that choose to live near transit but not for renters..”
I didn’t know renters’ names appeared on the property tax bill.
Quote from Rep. Don Young of Alaska in 2003 on Seafarers International Union, (AFL-CIO) website:
“If we get ANWR, we will have, in fact, developed more merchant marine jobs than any other time in the last 25 years, ever since we built the pipeline,” stated Young, who chairs the House Resources Committee as well as the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Young said that ANWR exploration would not impact the “pristine area in Alaska. We have 147 million acres now that are still pristine and will always be pristine – and we’re talking about 2,000 acres (for potential exploration, all of it essentially an arctic desert). That will deliver us 1 million barrels of oil for the next hundred years. That’s the same amount of oil we’re buying from Saddam Hussein right now. And the idea that we’re thinking that we can’t drill there, yet people will say, “All right, we’ll go there and take the oil from Iraq, is ridiculous.”
Quote from International Brotherhood of Teamsters in 2003:
“ANWR exploration will not only reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, it will also create as many as 34,000 jobs in Florida alone. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the ANWR could contain as many as 16 billion barrels of oil. The technology exists to do this exploration safely. Alaskan oil fields currently use the cleanest, most efficient, most environmentally sensitive technology in the world. The size of the ANWR exploration is limited to 2000 acres. Another way of explaining this is to say that the total area to be explored within ANWR equals one vowel on the front page of the New York Times.”
Now because of rising fuel costs Mr. Blumeauer has to come up with a taxpayer assisted rescue operation. Oh well, soon we willl have a city full of office workers who ride bikes to their jobs—and a day laborer center in every neighborhood.
“Do you own stock in oil companies giving you a say-so in what they invest in or have the geological expertise to advise them where to find their product?”
Please don’t make this into a personal discussion.
The offshore and ANWR reserves belong to the American people, not to oil companies. That’s why the oil companies have to negotiate with the government, and the people (via their elected representatives) have to consent before those reserves and surrounding areas can be exploited.
Thus, one does not have to be a shareholder to debate the wisdom, pro or con, of opening up these areas to exploration and exploitation.
One more thing: We do allow pseudonomous posting here, but prefer to that posters stick to one identity. Please pick one name and stick with it. You know who you are. Thanks.
This post is for discussing the pros/cons of Blumenauer’s proposed legislation, which I do not believe contains any language related to drilling in ANWR. So back to the topic at-hand:
I didn’t know renters’ names appeared on the property tax bill.
Really, though, why should that matter?
First, whether or not I buy property does not mean that I did not carefully calculate where I wanted to live based on a wide array of factors, including, for purposes of this discussion, accessibility to transit.
Second, when my CPA fills out my income tax forms every year, he likes to remind me about these nice little empty boxes in which to list deductions and credits.
Based on these two facts, there is no reason why new legislation couldn’t provide a tax credit to me based on the address of my primary residence and it’s proximity to public transit. I shouldn’t need a property tax statement to claim said tax credit.
***Correction about the legislation proposed by Blumenauer related to location of residence:
From the PBJ: Increasing access to location-efficient mortgages that increase a borrower’s income by $1 for each dollar of transportation savings. The bill would establish annual goals for Freddie Mac and Sallie Mae for offering the mortgages.
So technically we aren’t talking about a tax credit based on proximity to transit. This provision simply increases a homebuyer’s buying power based on proximity. Thus my argument about a tax credit per se is misplaced here, but the general message is unchanged: he suggests offering a benefit to empower homeowners to select a residence where they won’t be car-dependent but does not extend that same benefit to renters. Especially in light of the lending fiasco of the last few years I think we should not be in such a hurry to reward homebuyers and punish renters (of whom the latter may be getting punished for making a fiscally-responsible decision).
With the sky rocketing costs of motor fuels, NO outdated, dictatorial and subsidized incentives are needed to promote alternative forms of transport. This is just another con job by Blumenauer to divert motorist paid highway and highway maintenance dollars to his special interest agenda. In a real world absent of Blumenauer’s brand of divisive politics, tax equity would include bicyclists directly taxed for the use of and to pay for any bicycle infrastructure; and transit users paying much higher fares that reflect the true financial costs of providing the service, including the 100 plus years of it takes to recover the energy use and costs for new light rail and streetcar lines.
“With the sky rocketing costs of motor fuels, NO outdated, dictatorial and subsidized incentives are needed to promote alternative forms of transport.”
Part of this bill is designed to make it easier for people to afford to live near transit by allowing mortgage companies to consider the lower cost of transit relative to the cost of owning a private car when they decide how much money they should lend a person. Previously they were unable to do that, even though any banker with a brain could tell that someone without a car next to a transit line could clearly afford more house than someone with the same income and two cars. So this is about REMOVING an “outdated, dictatorial and subsidized incentive,” not adding one.
Another part of the bill is to allow companies to give people tax free money for bicycle related costs, just like they currently do for transit and parking, again about REMOVING an “outdated, dictatorial and subsidized incentive,” not adding one.
Another part of the bill is to allow people to cash out of their employer provided parking: In other words, get money for the benefits that their employer provides but that they aren’t using. Again about REMOVING an “outdated, dictatorial and subsidized incentive,” not adding one.
“This is just another con job by Blumenauer to divert motorist paid highway and highway maintenance dollars to his special interest agenda.”
??? That statement doesn’t follow.
Bow tie should retire and yield the job to someone who will do the right thing….drill drill drill….anwr…
Watched about 6.5 minutes of the video. Lots of jingoism, self-advancement, distorted facts, false blame. Earl should go back to the drawing board. I don’t know whether the language of the legislation contains any refernce to ANWR but Blumenauers public introduction certainly does.
We would be better off offering federal assistance for manufacturing a 100 mpg autombile. Or discounted bus rides.
We would be better off offering federal assistance for manufacturing a 100 mpg autombile.
I’m not sure about “better off” but I do agree that research dollars for high-MPG vehicles (such as plug-in hybrids and range-extended EVs) are relatively paltry.
Or discounted bus rides.
Transit rides are pretty heavily discounted already (at least on average) … I’d rather see expanded transit dollars go to increasing service, especially on lines which are experiencing crowding already (and thus can’t really accommodate new riders) and those which currently run with infrequent service. There are a number of barriers to attracting ridership, and price, although significant, is not the most significant for many potential riders. Increased service frequency on key lines so that riders do not face long waits in the case of missed/missing transit vehicles or when making schedule choices, and relieving crowds on popular lines so that growth can occur through the network.
The people of Easter Island deforested their entire island so that they could erect statues to their gods. Shortly afterwards, the population decreased by 2/3rd as people starved to death because they no longer had wood for making boats and therefor fishing. Moving a statue takes a lot of trees, making a boat takes one. Kind of bad planning on their part…
Jared Diamond wrote a great book where he asks the question: When there was still a sustainable number of trees existing on the island, did anyone stand around and say “Don’t cut anymore trees for statues until we figure out how we are going to feed ourselves when we run out?” Jared Diamond doesn’t have a good answer for that, (we do know that the person that asked that question didn’t stop the rest of the trees from being harvested,) but I do have to imagine that some weird looking guy stood up at the temple one day and did ask that question, and was told that “he should retire” and was then drowned up by a yells of “CUT CUT CUT”…
However, trees are a renewable resource and oil isn’t, so I can understand why some people might think we can’t learn anything from easter island in this situation…
Of course, after the Easter Islanders started starving, they knocked all the statues down, (they were mad at the gods,) and then chipped pieces of stone off of the statues to use in their gardens to keep moisture in the soil. And so I’ll leave you with this link for growing potatoes in old car tires:
Bob R. wrote: I’d rather see expanded transit dollars go to increasing service, especially on lines which are experiencing crowding already (and thus can’t really accommodate new riders) and those which currently run with infrequent service. There are a number of barriers to attracting ridership, and price, although significant, is not the most significant for many potential riders. Increased service frequency on key lines so that riders do not face long waits in the case of missed/missing transit vehicles or when making schedule choices, and relieving crowds on popular lines so that growth can occur through the network.
Thank you, Bob. Your attention to detail and acknowledgement of necessary improvements that TriMet needs to implement is well regarded and appreciated.
Tax credits are no good for people that don’t itemize their taxes, which is most Americans.
Bunch of political garbage.
THEY SHOULD GET THE [EXPLETIVE DELETED] OUT OF IRAQ AND GIVE ALL THAT MONEY TO BRIDGES AND TRANSIT.
Rhetoric and lies.
That’s all we get from our leaders nowadays.
Blumenauer’s outdated proposals are just one more big government entitlement program that taxpayers will be charged to pay for in the job on the American people. His proposals include:
OUTDATED – subsidies to transit districts to offset fare hikes caused by inflation and the increased cost of providing the service.
Transit users should be paying more of the costs of providing the service – not less!
OUTDATED – More tax dollars being wasted on programs like Metro’s “Drive Less, Save More” campaign.
With the price of motor fuels today, these programs are unnecessary!
OUTDATED – Subsidies to assist those who want to live near public transportation.
With the exception of for low income people, these subsides are just more socialistic anti-democratic spending by people like Blumenauer that want to be dictators and control lifestyles.
OUTDATED – Grant programs that are part of the proposed legislation to restructure streets to facilitate bicycle and pedestrian use among other things.
The bicyclists themselves need to be directly taxed to pay for any new bicycle infrastructure instead of freeloading and always expecting somebody else to pay for it. Additionally, at least by Metro and PDOT congestion creating standards, pedestrian use among other things undoubtedly includes curb extensions and the displacement of motor vehicle capacity, both of which increase fuel consumption for motorists. Barriers and other obstructions on streets and roads need to be removed to provide better traffic flow which in turn will enhance enhances fuel economy, not reduce it as with the Blumenauer plan.
Somehow some words were accidentally erased in my opening statement of the above post; It should have read:
Blumenauer’s outdated proposals are just one more big government entitlement program that taxpayers will be charged to pay for in the long run. Therefore Blumenauer is promoting a con job on the American people. His proposals include:
Ok, I promise to settle down a bit and not use pseudonomous appelations.
“However, trees are a renewable resource and oil isn’t, so I can understand why some people might think we can’t learn anything from easter island in this situation…”
That’s a good point. Were it not for demand from China and India we would be far away from running out of oil. But the fact is that there is that increasing demand and we do need to get prepared. I know that a lighter weight vehicle (like the Aptera or LOREMO for example) could get phenomenal economy—yet when matched up against a fully loaded double tractor trailer rig at 70 mph it would be a death trap. So should we not try to get trucks off the freeways? Right now our transportation policy seems to be headed no where near there. We’re battling it out in the CRC plan (and what I think will likely follow with the I-5 Freeway Loop) but I think this will just allow for more trucks. Maybe we should be gearing up for better freight rail service, instead —which is much more fuel efficient. And it seems like it would be easier to change out a small number of diesel locomotives to an alternative fuel (hydrogen, biodiesel,) than a much larger number of truck engines.
So should property tax breaks be used to foster mass transit use? I guess it is hard for me to see how this could be a fair policy. I for one don’t have a free parking spot to cash in. How many people actually do? And if one has a Location Eficient Mortgage does this necessarily mean they will use mass transit?
But Perhaps Blumenauers proposal is not so bad. What I am really distrurbed by are the transporation planning axioms that are based on a huge population increase—which to me reflects, in part reality, but also sort of a warped social policy agenda, which, unforunately, Democrats, once the party of the little guy, now seem to be committed to.
That social agenda is that somehow the US and similar countries are to blame for Third World poverty and that in the name of justice we must accept huge numbers of newcomers from those lands. If this happens, of course we will have massive planning issues ( I would say “woes) to deal with as the population influx outstrips our infrastructure. This agenda, virtually a Holy Grail among “liberals,” ignores the fact that millions of Americans have, or are currently, volunteering in multitudinous ways to help out in impoverished nations. And it ignores the fact that we have billions of public and private foreign assistance going out every year–and in recent years trade deficits to oil producing countries.
I am certainly not burdened by such societal guilt—for pete’s sake I have been in recent UN urban issues forums—and I don’t want US public policy shaped by anyone that does have this POV. Yes perhaps we need some federal intervention towards a stringent energy policy–and that is why I have often written about alternative energies–but I think we need some kind of fair application. I’ve seen enough attempts at rectifying a problem that results in more injustice.
I have a better idea:
Lets use all that money we are blowing in Iraq to bomb both China and India back into the stone age. It might sound extreme but it will have many positive outcomes:
1. Reduces their demand for oil back to pre industrial levels.
2. Brings back IT and call center jobs to the US
3. Puts Walmart out of business
4. Eliminates our national debt (literally).
Okay, okay… keep it a bit more serious, please. Thanks.
In all seriousness,
your starting to sound a bit like Jim Karlock!
Let’s not get into comparing commenters.
Ron Swaren wrote: So should property tax breaks be used to foster mass transit use? I guess it is hard for me to see how this could be a fair policy. I for one don’t have a free parking spot to cash in. How many people actually do? And if one has a Location Eficient Mortgage does this necessarily mean they will use mass transit?
Ron’s point is EXTREMELY valid. Look at Orenco Station, the supposed model for transit-oriented development.
I see little development occuring close to the MAX station but I see a fairly significant parking lot that is free for people who use MAX – but is not a light rail attributed cost. I see lots of development along Cornell Road. I see lots and lots of streets with garages and two cars, often SUVs.
The SoWa businesses are unhappy because of a lack of parking.
Good Sam is building a 600 space parking garage.
Property taxes are not the way to go; I know people who live in Beaverton and are transit dependent (do not own or use a motor vehicle); so why should someone in the Pearl who owns two cars get a “transit” property tax break (despite the massive transit investment given them), while someone in Beaverton who is lucky to get anything more than weekday rush hour bus service pays property taxes that are designed to disincent motor vehicle use?
Do I get a tax break because I use the bus AND my household only owns one vehicle for three people? I still believe I am owed a tax break for having zero on-street parking access and non-contiguous sidewalk access, and substandard transit access.
we should be subsidizing the price of gasoline! i should not have to pay more for gasoline it is my god given right to drive as much as i want!
“Let’s not get into comparing commenters.”
Ya know your starting to sound a lot like BOB R!
(btw BOB, you made a spelling mistake. ha haa ha haa ha!)
Al: btw BOB, you made a spelling mistake.
its highlighted in my spell check bob
Are you calling my spell checker stupid Bob?
YOU BETTER BE ABLE TO BACK UP DEM WORDS!
Erik Halstead: “Property taxes are not the way to go; I know people who live in Beaverton and are transit dependent (do not own or use a motor vehicle); so why should someone in the Pearl who owns two cars get a “transit” property tax break (despite the massive transit investment given them), while someone in Beaverton who is lucky to get anything more than weekday rush hour bus service pays property taxes that are designed to disincent motor vehicle use?
Do I get a tax break because I use the bus AND my household only owns one vehicle for three people? I still believe I am owed a tax break for having zero on-street parking access and non-contiguous sidewalk access, and substandard transit access.”
That’s a perfect point, I live in Beaverton my closest lines are the 52 and 57, the 52 does not run late enough for me (which to be fair it does run until midnight) so I have to use the 57 and walk about a mile down a s****** dark road with no lighting, and if I have to be somewhere very early in the morning I have to walk the two miles to a MAX station. The buses are unreliable, uncomfortable much of the time, and use inferior equipment.
I do not own a car (and can afford one) and spend three hours on public transit to make a trip a car makes in a hour why in the hell do I get taxed but the moderately rich people who can afford to live in the high rises get a tax break, didn’t our taxes already help them get great bus, max and streetcar access while I’m still stuck with a shitty bus stop sign (with a Deer on it still) with buses that show up “willy nilly” because its merged with another hell route (the 76 & 52) and the big transit improvement of the area issss WES which is 2.5 miles from where I live and goes to areas I don’t need to go (ever) and if I did need to it runs at times that I don’t work (I’m swing/graveyard).
Another point is if I’m supposed to be able to live with ease without a car why doesn’t Trimet run 24/7? I was told MAX could not run 24/7 because of maintenance but buses can, I mean many lines run until 2AM and start up again at 5am anyway, why not just keep the FS lines up and running every hour or something like that, that would keep most of the area fairly connected even late night. They say its all about life without a car, well make it possible and so I don’t have to pay for a Taxi ride or ZipCar!