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The 6.5 cents per mile seems to come from this study
http://www.vtpi.org/whoserd.pdf

Since it includes all road spending, including new roads, it doesn't really capture the amount of wear per mile, but it's not way, way off.

It's basically taking the total spent on roads by all forms of government and diving by vehicle miles traveled.

Right, so while its an interesting statistic, the article incorrectly represents what it means.

It's not just about wear, its is also about the huge costs of initial construction. And while it says "cars" it really means cars, trucks, and buses.


Trucks in particular cause an order of magnitude more wear.

I've seen that number bandied about in several places. On one hand, I agree that it is inaccurate to say it is just the wear and tear.

OTOH, it is very hard to estimate costs of wear and tear, and users heavily underestimate their costs on the system. c/mile number at least shows how much users as a group are paying.

I agree with Jim T too. IIRC, impact increases with the square of the weight. Which is good for cyclists, since our impact must be less than 1000th that of a car. Impact also increases with speed.

I don't doubt that the gas tax is inadequate, but I suspect most of the damage is done by trucks. I wonder how long a normal highway would last if

a. No one used it
b. Only cars/SUVs etc.. used it
c. It were used as is done now.

Someone put up the Froggie light (though he's somewhere in the Indian Ocean so good luck with that).

"c/mile number at least shows how much users as a group are paying"

It actually shows what users as a group are _costing_ all of us, since gas taxes and vehicle-related fees don't come close to covering the cost of roadways. The rest of the money comes out of income taxes at the federal level and property and other taxes at the state and local levels.

Jonathan Krall, sorry, my error. It is clear that users don't pay for the roads.

Trucks: there is a federal surcharge for trucks, but I doubt it covers the cost. According to one site I saw, an 80k lb truck does 6x the damage a 50k truck does to the road, because impact increases to the 4th power of weight.

I've always thought you could measure the costs of keeping the GW parkway and 66 inside the beltway open -- since they don't have trucks.

Federal surcharge, various other state taxes, but yes, our transportation system is basically run for truckers -- not for individual cars.


We could test the proposition for an unused highway by studying the ICC for the next several decades?

I don't doubt that the gas tax is inadequate, but I suspect most of the damage is done by trucks. I wonder how long a normal highway would last if

a. No one used it


I thought about that. But I bet the highway admin has built a test highway that can track such things.

I added a close "i" tag.

They should just go ahead and turn the ICC into one massive bikeway. Now that would be awesome!

@michael; awesome, but would you still charge $5 for a roundtrip?

(to be honest, doing something like that for East Potomac Park might not be a bad idea. Charge $5 for each bike entering as a toll and use the money to make it a nice racetrack)

If they charged the real cost of road use, the ICC would not seem expensive

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