Gas Taxes

Californians Are Now Paying Higher Gas Taxes. Cities Are Responding by Reducing Lanes for Cars.

After state lawmakers boosted the gas tax with a promise to improve California streets, some cities are upsetting drivers by spending millions on so-called 'road diet' projects that reduce the number of lanes for motor vehicles.

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At a 2017 Riverside rally touting legislation to increase gas taxes and vehicle-license fees to boost California's infrastructure spending, then-Gov. Jerry Brown was characteristically grandiose.

"Roads are the fundamentals of a civilization," he said. "Whether it was the Roman Empire or the United States of America, roads are the key to a nation's greatness."

As someone who once spent hours driving 50 miles on a decrepit and insanely crowded third-world country's "highways," I can attest to the societal importance of a modern, well-maintained freeway system. But the latest news about that gas-tax hike—and the way some cities are using the cash—speaks volumes about our civilization, too. It's great fodder for an author who wants to chronicle the decline and fall of it.

Senate Bill 1's supporters made clear the $5.4 billion a year in additional infrastructure spending would reduce congestion and make getting around much easier. Any normal person would think that meant building new street and highway lanes. This isn't high-level math: Congestion is caused by too little road space for too many cars, so adding space is the key.

Normal people apparently don't make transportation decisions. "Two years after state lawmakers boosted the gas tax with a promise to improve California streets, some cities have raised the ire of drivers by spending millions of the new dollars on 'road diet' projects that reduce the number and size of lanes for motor vehicles," according to a Los Angeles Times report.

In November, a majority of California voters opposed a repeal of those gas-tax hikes. People no doubt reasoned that even if they don't like paying so much extra at the pump, they at least will see tangible improvements in their commutes. In fairness, the tax hike has funded many construction and maintenance projects, but it's also funded these projects that seem designed to make our awful commutes even worse. It makes no sense.

S.B. 1 is a "landmark transportation investment to rebuild California by fixing neighborhood streets, freeways and bridges in communities across California and targeting funds toward transit and congested trade and commute corridor improvements," according to the state of California website. That's a fair description of how its backers described the controversial plan to skeptical taxpayers.

When did anyone ever say anything about "road diets"?

Actually, the law's fine print promised to add bike lanes and improve road safety. Not many people figured that California cities would do this by building wider, protected bicycle routes and removing the number of traffic lanes in the process. In the city of Sacramento, near where I live, officials have used this strategy. It has turned downtown thoroughfares from a crowded rush-hour mess into total, gridlocked chaos. As humorist Dave Barry would say, "I am not making this up."

The city realized "the primary collision factor on the streets was unsafe speeds," Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said in that news report. "And one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to reduce the speeds is to reduce the number of travel lanes." The report pointed to a federal study showing that road diets significantly reduce the number of car accidents.  Well, sure—it's harder to get in an accident when you're not moving or crawling along. The next time you're in gridlock, remember that officials did this to make you safer. Gee, thanks a lot.

This is planned congestion—an extreme case of social engineering trumping traffic engineering. These officials, who want us to sit in traffic longer as a means to avoid accidents or frustrate us into taking the bus or rail, are using the recent tax boost to achieve these goals. Californians have been had, although many of us had issued warnings.

Officials actually admit that they do this. It was obvious, though, given increases in traffic and all those new, obtrusive bicycle lanes surrounded by pylons and delineated by white, painted warning figures and lines on the asphalt. These projects also are designed to promote "equity" by "giving people safe alternatives to cars," as one supporter told the Times. Bicycling is a fine-enough pastime and a reasonable way to get around in cities, but replacing traffic lanes with bike lanes will only make the traffic worse.

When San Jose opened a light-rail station many years ago, transportation officials reportedly considered closing a nearby highway lane to encourage people to take rail. These road-diets are even loopier. We've placed transportation planning in the hands of the Congestion Lobby – officials who are so hostile to car usage that they'll go to great lengths to coerce us to ride bikes or take their slow, dirty and generally unpleasant transit systems.

Jerry Brown had it right. Roads are indeed a key to a society's greatness. But I'd add that any civilization that raises gas taxes and then reduces road lanes to purposefully increase traffic congestion is insane and probably living on borrowed time.

This column was first published by the Orange County Register.

Steven Greenhut is Western region director for the R Street Institute. Write to him at sgreenhut@rstreet.org.

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139 responses to “Californians Are Now Paying Higher Gas Taxes. Cities Are Responding by Reducing Lanes for Cars.

  1. Liberal crazy folks: Shutting down streets & highways will improve transportation.

    Conservative crazy folks: Shutting down trade will improve trade & the economy.

    1. What trade was shut down?

      1. Do you read much, dude? Do you know that the very simplest, basic economics will tell you that as prices go up, consumers buy less? I see that you comment here at the Reason.com articles, but do you ever actually bother to read the articles and see what they say? Prices include taxes, and taxes include tariffs. So people are buying less. Economic activity is less now, than if Der TrumpfenFuhrer had NOT started a trade war! Der TrumpfenFuhrer is a protectionist… He (just like you perhaps?) hasn’t bothered to read up on the day’s events, nor has he bothered to noticed that when he taxed incoming, evil foreign washing machines, to protect the good American washing-machine manufacturers, the first thing that the good American washing-machine manufacturers did, was to jack up the prices that they charge us for good American washing-machines!!! Simply because their competition has been crippled by us paying higher taxes!

        Protectionism doesn’t work! It kills economic activity! Just like removing lanes of traffic kills mobility!

        1. Trump is treating China how China treats the rest of the world.

          1. If the other guy out-does us in the cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face contest, so what? The way to win the cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face contest is to NOT play the game at ALL!!! And this is what is happening once again, is that the whole world suffers. It is as if history had never happened, and no one ever learned a darned thing from the Smoot-Hawley tariffs, and the Great Depression.

            1. Yeah, One problem with your premise. The current economy is more robust than it has been in decades. Unemployment is the lowest ever (since being recorded). Consumer confidence and business confidence is growing as both are spending at high levels.

              1. Correlation is not causation. If a very good-looking, rich young stud has lots of girlfriends, despite the fact that he never bathes or brushes his teeth, and smells like shit, then the reason that he has lots of babes is NOT necessarily going to be that he smells like shit!

                1. Besides that, if trade wars are so great, why not start up the trade wars between each and every State in the USA? Between cities and towns, and from household to household? Is THIS the long-lost secret to making us all fabulously wealthy?

                  1. It’s obvious that you’re not capable of rational discussion. You are shrill and make spurious analogies.

                    1. Yes, I do understand that all who disagree with you are not rational. I take that for granted.

                      When I do make more detailed arguments (backed up by links), I never get serious responses from the lickers of the boots of Der TrumpfenFuhrer. They SAY that Trump wants free trade, that he’s not a protectionist… But the facts show otherwise. For me to show you that, though, would be like arguing with a brick wall.

                  2. China already started the trade wars decades ago. This isnt news.

                    1. “She punched me back first!”, screamed the little boy in the rear of the car.

                      Trump is a protectionist, for the sake of protectionism alone… He lies when he says he wants free trade!

                      Let me now demo that…

                      In preparation for my next comment below… Reason.com will allow me to only place ONE link per comment… Please note that my source is middle-of-the-road, not left-liberal… “The Hill” conservative or liberal? https://www.conservapedia.com/The_Hill says it is pretty much middle-of-the-road, NOT liberal as is most media…

                    2. https://thehill.com/opinion/international/443511-why-xi-jinping-reneged-on-the-trade-deal-with-trump Why Xi Jinping reneged on the trade deal with Trump … From there, “Both Liu He and the official voice of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), People’s Daily, cited three issues to explain Xi’s rejection of the deal: first, the U.S. wanted to keep some tariffs in place, and refused to abolish all of them…”

                      So the Donald is FIBBING when he claims he wants zero tariffs, and all! Also as Leo keeps on pointing out here, The Donald’s record on (now formerly) having wanting to keep steel and aluminum tariffs in place, NAFTA-wise, contra the spirit of the agreement awaiting Congressional approval… This and his profligate trade wars against all and sundry, not just China… All this clearly shows that The Donald is flat-out, a protectionist. He SAYS he wants free trade, but doesn’t really.

                      You are wrong to be constantly repeating The Donald’s lies about His ultimate goals be all free-trade, when His actual track record shows him to be a protectionist.

              2. Awesome man! That means the government must be the social fabric, let’s allow them to control more of our trade and freedoms and see how that works. Has it been tried before? I haven’t checked.

              3. That was happening before the tariffs.
                I’m glad the tariffs haven’t fucked things up too much. But I don’t think you can tie them to the good economy.

                1. There is no current response of inflation to the tariffs. So what signals are you using?

            2. What a dumb analogy. tit for tat game theory is much more applicable than your ignorance.

            3. If China’s trade policy is so bad, why does China’s GDP growth far outpace most other countries? If China’s trade policy is so bad and bad for its people, why would any principled libertarian choose to keep enabling such a bad policy?

        2. I’m sorry. Do you not know what the term shut down means? Nothing in your idiocy shows a shut down.

      2. “We’ll keep raising tariffs until trade with our largest trading partner finally dries up!” — RealDrumpf

        1. That’s not a shut down.

          Why do idiots not know what words mean?

      3. What streets were shut down? The analogy was perfectly cromulent

  2. One of the fundamental agreed upon reasons for government is roads. Less roads should mean less taxes are needed.

    I am sure Taxifornia will promptly refund every taxpayer in that state a percentage of their taxes.

    1. One of the fundamental agreed upon reasons for government is roads.
      Some people might argue with you there.

      Not only are they not going to get taxes back for fewer roads, they are also paying more gas tax which is supposed to pay for roads.

    2. They broke that connection a long time ago with Prop 13. Except that the connection is the opposite. Roads are land infrastructure that prevents that land from being used for anything else – but CA cannot recover those costs thru land/prop taxes. Prop 13 was essentially a no-more-people-here tax structure. Which is fine but the population was roughly 20 million in 1976 and is double that now. If the core ‘infrastructure’ part of the tax system is a no-more-people system, then you are screwed when you ‘allow’ more people there.

      CA is living proof that you can’t fund roads/infrastructure via gas/use fees. Those people who want more roads live far away from the place where they want to force roads to be built. No surprise, all the other infrastructure/local functions of CA govt are a giant clusterfuck as well. They killed the local tax base so everything now has to be fought over at the state level. And there is NO solution that CA will accept.

      1. California is living proof that Progressive Democrat politicians have no more capacity for keeping budgets realistic than so many six-year-olds.

        Granted; Republican politicians are only slightly better, if at all.

        1. That is not the fault of pols. It’s the fault of voters who refuse to hold them accountable.

          CA gutted its prop tax base – which means it also gutted its ability to have meaningful local govt. Which also means that income and other state level taxes end up being higher as decisions now have to move up a level.

          While at the same time, the CA legislature has as many legislators as it did in 1880 – when the CA population was 800,000 (1 critter for every 10,000 people) not 40 million (1 critter for every 500,000 people – which is worse representation than every NATION on Earth except for India, US, Pakistan). Why would anyone be surprised those critters are fiscally incontinent?

          1. JFree
            June.7.2019 at 12:50 pm
            “…CA gutted its prop tax base – …”

            Proggy bullshit. CA residents pay among the highest taxes in the country.
            State Tax Burden Rank
            Alabama 6.3% 49
            Alaska 6.5% 50
            Arizona 8.2% 31
            Arkansas 9.1% 15
            California 9.5% 10
            […]
            https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/a-comparison-state-tax-rates.html

            1. ‘Scuse me, that’s proggy cherry-picking.

            2. CA RESIDENTS pay high INCOME taxes. CA landowners – and in particular long-time landowners – pay LOW property taxes. So they don’t actually pay for anything the state does to increase land values (eg build roads so they can get from point A to point B without negotiating a thousand easement contracts with every landowner from here to there) – and they expect a free lunch so they still vote for that sort of spending.

              Course assclowns like you don’t know the difference between income and property taxes. States like TX and NH – with high property taxes – don’t need to spend much money on bullshit like affordable housing and in fact can (if they choose) eliminate income and other distorting taxes altogether. States with low property taxes – have to distort their entire economy with higher income or sales taxes. And then whine like entitled babies

              1. “…in particular long-time landowners – pay LOW property taxes…”
                Yeah, all three of ’em by now.

                “Course assclowns like you don’t know the difference between income and property taxes. States like TX and NH…”
                Lefty shitbags like you cherry pick your way through data.
                It doesn’t maatter what you call the taxes, they are higher in CA than in 40 other state.
                Fuck off, slaver

                1. As I said – whine like an entitled baby. I’M not imposing a damn thing on you. YOU have brought this CA crap on yourself. I am simply pointing out how the real world works.

                  And PLEASE STAY in California you sack of rancid pus. People like you who move elsewhere are the plague.

                  1. JFree
                    June.7.2019 at 2:29 pm
                    “As I said – whine like an entitled baby. I’M not imposing a damn thing on you. YOU have brought this CA crap on yourself. I am simply pointing out how the real world works.”
                    As I said, lefty shitbag, keep picking those cherries to back your fucking lies.

                    “And PLEASE STAY in California you sack of rancid pus. People like you who move elsewhere are the plague.”
                    And PLEASE fuck off and die. Some place where you won’t stink up the joint; proggies smell like septic tanks.

              2. CA landowners – and in particular long-time landowners – pay LOW property taxes.

                No. CA landowners pay high property taxes. They pay high property taxes on assessed values that are derived from formulas based on what you paid for your house rather than on current market value of your house. This means that the lady who lives next to me who has been there 30 years longer than I have cuts a smaller check to the local government, but she pays just as high a rate as me on the assessed value, which is what Prop. 13 limits.

                So they don’t actually pay for anything the state does to increase land values (eg build roads

                Weren’t you just arguing that we can’t have roads because local governments don’t have the funds they need to build them? Now your saying we only have roads because the state built them?

                1. You’re wrong. The de jure mill rate (1% of assessed value) for a new owner is roughly average. But the Prop13 distortion means that MANY people are paying far far less than that. The statewide median number now is roughly 0.74% (which would rank #32 compared to other states). Palo Alto property owners (a good proxy for that first generation of tech wealth which turns into a no-more-people community) pay an average of 0.38% of actual value. Buffett (a proxy for a true long-time individual landowner who’s maximized the Prop13 benefit) paid 0.06% for his vacation home in 2005 which went to probably 0.03% in 2016 if he sold at the price he recently asked.

                  Obviously property prices in CA are extremely high. If property tax rates were also high, then CA would be swimming in cash. The fact is that CA relies much less on prop taxes than most states – because Prop13 means actual prop tax revenues diverge further and further from the de jure rates. So that they rely on increasing income taxes which don’t diverge from rates over time but which just distorts the productive economy.

                  1. “JFree
                    June.7.2019 at 3:05 pm
                    “You’re wrong.”
                    You’re full of shit.

                    “[…]But the Prop13 distortion means that MANY people are paying far far less than that.”
                    Cite missing, fucking lefty ignoramus.

                    1. So you are admitting that you can’t even read now?

                    2. JFree
                      June.7.2019 at 4:38 pm
                      “So you are admitting that you can’t even read now?”

                      No, I’m pointing out that you made a claim absent any evidence as is common for lefty shitbags.
                      Are you admitting you can’t read? Or just that you’re abysmally stupid?

                  2. You’re wrong.

                    I own a house in California AND I have spent the last fifteen years building public infrastructure for local government agencies.

                    My property tax rate is almost 2% of the assessed value and is over 1% of the market value. Palo Alto is not a good proxy for anything in California, and cherry-picking data points that support what you’ve already decided to think isn’t going to make the rest of us ignore our lying eyes.

                    If property tax rates were also high, then CA would be swimming in cash.

                    And it is. Which is why we can blow $100B on a pointless choo-choo and shrug it off.

                    And you haven’t actually addressed my core criticism that what’s going on here is not a lack of cash, it’s taking cash that was earmarked to relieve traffic congestion and using it to eliminate traffic lanes. That has fuck-all to do with your bitching about Prop. 13 and local vs. state spending, to the point that it’s really unclear why you even brought up Prop. 13 in the first place.

                    And you also fail to address one of my other central questions for you which is why you believe that CA munies are so cash-strapped from Prop 13 when you yourself point out that if you average property taxes statewide – those counties with high taxes balancing against those with low taxes – it’s not much different from other states. So why are CA munies so cash strapped?

                    And have you ever heard of parcel taxes? Because it doesn’t seem like you have. Local agency hands are not as firmly tied as you think they are.

                    1. my core criticism that what’s going on here is not a lack of cash, it’s taking cash that was earmarked to relieve traffic congestion and using it to eliminate traffic lanes.

                      See my post below re what you really want is to use STATE gas taxes as a means of coercing every local entity in CA to make the car even more central to transportation than it already is. You don’t want streets crisscrossing the Mojave Desert where you can maximize the road-miles built with gas taxes. You want them in places that are already densely populated. Where those locations are not free to figure out the transport problem they have and use those funds to solve their problem. But where they are required to solve YOUR problem in YOUR way.

                    2. See my post below re what you really want

                      So, what I’m hearing is that you can’t actually address anything I’ve said, or any of the ways I’ve pointed out that you’re contradicting yourself, undermining your own point, and demonstrating your ignorance, so you’ve decided to pull a Tony and pretend I’m saying something different than I really am so you can continue calling me an asshole for no reason.

                      Gotcha.

                      You don’t want streets crisscrossing the Mojave Desert where you can maximize the road-miles built with gas taxes. You want them in places that are already densely populated. Where those locations are not free to figure out the transport problem they have and use those funds to solve their problem.

                      But you haven’t addressed the fact that when you say local agencies have no funds because of Prop 13, you are wrong. When you say local agencies have no money because their property taxes are lower than other states you are wrong. When you say local agency revenue is limited by restrictions on how much they can tax property you are wrong. When you argue that the stated intent of the gas tax covers removing traffic lanes to make way for bikes instead of solving traffic congestion, wait for it . . . you are wrong.

                      Stop doubling down on being an asshole and admit that you shot from the hip and missed.

              3. Part 1 of a 2-part response:

                https://wallethub.com/edu/t/states-with-the-highest-and-lowest-property-taxes/11585/

                The annual taxes on a home priced at the median value of each state:

                NH: $5,388
                CA: $3,414

                That’s a difference of just under two grand per year.

                1. Part 2 of 2:

                  https://www.statista.com/statistics/242258/number-of-us-households-by-state/

                  Number of U.S. households by state in 2017.

                  CA: 13,010,000
                  NH: 530,000

                  So CA has roughly 24.5 times as many households to levy a property tax on than NH does.

                  For all your bitching about CA’s supposedly cripplingly low property taxes, they are raking in plenty more in raw dollars than NH and their high taxes.

          2. CA gutted its prop tax base – which means it also gutted its ability to have meaningful local govt. Which also means that income and other state level taxes end up being higher as decisions now have to move up a level.

            You’ve got that roughly backwards.

            The point of Prop 13 was to keep local governments from taxing people on wealth they didn’t have. My grandfather, for example, bought his first house in Long Beach in 1954 for $4k. By 1974 it was worth $150k. That didn’t mean that he had the income to cover the property tax bill on a $150k property.

            All Prop 13 affects is the assessed value of a property for purposes of taxation. It doesn’t “gut the ability to have meaningful local government.” Look at local government revenues in CA and you will definitely see spending problems, but you won’t see revenue problems (except in cases where property values suddenly crash, as happened to Stockton, Vallejo, et al., but that, again, doesn’t have anything to do with Prop. 13).

            Decisions, thus, don’t “have to” move up to the state level. The state gov. of CA has a long-standing habit of confiscating funds from local governments in order to take the decision making to a more centralized level.

            As an example, just this last election we had a proposition to provide improved state-level mental health services by confiscating funds from county-level service providers and funneling them into a state-level public works program to construction mental health facilities at locations chosen by the state on the principal that if you build it, they will come.

            That’s not the fault of Prop 13. It’s the fault of near-sociopathic state officials deliberately misleading the public as to the intent and anticipated outcome of state spending proposals. Yes it would be nice if people paid closer attention to these crooks, but that doesn’t make them not-crooks.

            1. “[…] It’s the fault of near-sociopathic state officials deliberately misleading the public as to the intent and anticipated outcome of state spending proposals. […]”
              Willie Brown on budgeting:

              News that the Transbay Terminal is something like $300 million over budget should not come as a shock to anyone. We always knew the initial estimate was way under the real cost. Just like we never had a real cost for the [San Francisco] Central Subway or the [San Francisco-Oakland] Bay Bridge or any other massive construction project. So get off it. In the world of civic projects, the first budget is really just a down payment. If people knew the real cost from the start, nothing would ever be approved. The idea is to get going. Start digging a hole and make it so big, there’s no alternative to coming up with the money to fill it in [emphasis added].”
              https://www.cato.org/policy-report/januaryfebruary-2017/megaprojects-over-budget-over-time-over-over

            2. Like it or not, the value of the property now IS the value of the property NOW and is not equal to the value of the property when someone’s greatgranddaddy peed on a tree to mark his homestead. Ultimately what Prop 13 and its generational passthroughs have done is instead to create wildly disparate property taxes within the same neighborhood – where a long-time resident may pay less than 10% of what their new next-door neighbor in an identical house pays. That disparity will only get MUCH worse over time. Which does in turn mean that stuff like roads, schools, libraries, police, fire – the stuff of muni-level govt – cannot be reliably funded and so munis CAN’T be relatively independent of state control. Do they adapt? Of course. They stop allowing residential construction and instead allow only retail where a sales tax can work – or maybe impose permitting red tape that can raise one-time fees.

              There were plenty of ways for a prop tax system to avoid the ‘kicking granny out of her house cuz she can’t afford prop tax”. But that was never the real intent of Prop 13.

              1. JFree
                June.7.2019 at 2:24 pm
                “Like it or not, the value of the property now IS the value of the property NOW and is not equal to the value of the property when someone’s greatgranddaddy peed on a tree to mark his homestead.”
                So what?

                “There were plenty of ways for a prop tax system to avoid the ‘kicking granny out of her house cuz she can’t afford prop tax”. But that was never the real intent of Prop 13.”
                Cite missing, and will remain so, I’m sure.
                Fuck off and die, slaver.

              2. the value of the property when someone’s greatgranddaddy peed on a tree to mark his homestead

                You can just fuck right off if you can’t be bothered to respond to what I actually said and instead twist it into something else so you can insult me.

                I never mentioned my greatgrandaddy peeing on a tree. I was talking about my actual still living grandfather who still occupies a house in Long Beach that he bought in 1984. But fuck him, right? His property value went up so he owes the state 150% of his annual income, right?

                Ultimately what Prop 13 and its generational passthroughs have done is instead to create wildly disparate property taxes within the same neighborhood

                You’re very ignorant of how this works. Prop 13 isn’t inter-generational. When the property changes hands, it is re-assessed.

                By comparing California over the period 1970 to 2000 with other states, (using data from the US Census Bureau, not state or county-level property records) [20]:9 Wasi and White (2005) estimated that Proposition 13 caused homeowners to increase the duration of time spent in a given home by 9% (1.04 years), and renters to increase their tenure by 18% (0.79 years).

                *gasp*

                That disparity will only get MUCH worse over time.

                It’s been 40 years. The state hasn’t dissolved yet, somehow.

                Which does in turn mean that stuff like roads, schools, libraries, police, fire – the stuff of muni-level govt – cannot be reliably funded and so munis CAN’T be relatively independent of state control.

                Again, as I pointed out elsewhere, that doesn’t have anything to do with Prop 13 – that has everything to do with the CA state government confiscating money from the local level, which has been going on pretty aggressively since Brown’s (second) first term.

                There were plenty of ways for a prop tax system to avoid the ‘kicking granny out of her house cuz she can’t afford prop tax”.

                Enumerate them. Because I haven’t heard any out of the fresh wave of Progressives bitching about Prop. 13. What I hear is exactly what you, in essence, said: “Fuck Granny.”

                But that was never the real intent of Prop 13.

                You may feel smart lecturing native Californians on the history of California, but it’s not making you look smart.

                1. Enumerate them. Because I haven’t heard any out of the fresh wave of Progressives bitching about Prop. 13. What I hear is exactly what you, in essence, said: “Fuck Granny.”

                  And I’d like to point out that you’ve been back to this page several times, but still don’t have any of these “plenty of ways” other than “Fuck Granny.”

                  Are you always this full of shit, or only when you’ve been shown to be wrong and you can’t deal?

                2. I was talking about my actual still living grandfather who still occupies a house in Long Beach that he bought in 1984. But fuck him, right? His property value went up so he owes the state 150% of his annual income, right?

                  As I said, plenty of ways a prop tax system can avoid that issue that is generally unique to the retired elderly. eg assess the tax AS A LIEN for them. The elderly never needs to pay it in cash – UNTIL they sell the house and realize that value – or die and it gets assessed on transfer to the new owner. In any city, there will be enough of those folks – at known ages – to produce an expected future cash flow predictable enough to back a bond issue if cash spending can’t be fit to cash flows. As significantly, reliance on a prop tax base eliminates many of the problems that otherwise get calls for ‘let’s throw money at this new problem’ (eg affordable housing or increased homelessness) – and it allows for a reduction in income/sales tax (which distort decision-making much more).

                  Prop 13 isn’t inter-generational.

                  Prop 58 (1986 – for transfers to children) and Prop 193 (1996 – for transfers to grandchildren) make Prop 13 highly intergenerational. A future landed aristocracy that will someday become – my tax bill is low because my greatgranddaddy once peed on a tree.

                  And that Wasi and White study is not as benign as you think. ‘Averages’ can be misleading. In Bakersfield (very little Prop13 benefit), the average increased tenure is 0.11 years. In LA – 2 years. In Bay Area – 3 years. In the ‘established money’ parts of LA/Bay – 6.8 years. Considering the average length of tenure was 10.76 years in CA in 1970’s, even three years is a lot – a 30% or so reduction in the number of houses put on the market in any year. AND the tenure is HIGHLY skewed to longer-term owners (10 years or more). Those who recently bought (no Prop13 benefit) have no difference in tenure. Those who bought 10+ years ago are virtually eliminated from the market now. Even if they move out of state, they often don’t sell. Far better to remortgage, fuck up their new state by voting like Calis in elections there, and pass the Prop13 benefit to their grandchildren.

                  And Wasi/White are also perfectly willing to state the obvious re the impact on localities an unintended [not really] result of Prop 13 is to transfer public funds from inland to coastal California residents. This is because, following the adoption of Prop 13, the state of California took over responsibility for funding public education.

                  1. Oh BOY! More JFree bullshit.
                    Given that JFree is a really accomplished bullshitter, this may take a while. And you hope no one wastes the time to do so, right fucking lefty scumbag?
                    —————————————————-
                    “I was talking about my actual still living grandfather who still occupies a house in Long Beach that he bought in 1984. But fuck him, right? His property value went up so he owes the state 150% of his annual income, right?
                    As I said, plenty of ways a prop tax system can avoid that issue that is generally unique to the retired elderly. eg assess the tax AS A LIEN for them. The elderly never needs to pay it in cash – UNTIL they sell the house and realize that value – or die and it gets assessed on transfer to the new owner. In any city, there will be enough of those folks – at known ages – to produce an expected future cash flow predictable enough to back a bond issue if cash spending can’t be fit to cash flows. As significantly, reliance on a prop tax base eliminates many of the problems that otherwise get calls for ‘let’s throw money at this new problem’ (eg affordable housing or increased homelessness) – and it allows for a reduction in income/sales tax (which distort decision-making much more).”
                    Oh, goodie! Proposed hypotheticals and a claim the slaver doesn’t want money spent somewhere else! We got your number when you walked in the door, scumbag.
                    —————————————-
                    “Prop 13 isn’t inter-generational.
                    Prop 58 (1986 – for transfers to children) and Prop 193 (1996 – for transfers to grandchildren) make Prop 13 highly intergenerational. A future landed aristocracy that will someday become – my tax bill is low because my greatgranddaddy once peed on a tree. ”
                    Slaver makes claims absent cites. Is anyone surprised? Not me.
                    ——————————–
                    “And that Wasi and White study is not as benign as you think. […] Even if they move out of state, they often don’t sell. Far better to remortgage, fuck up their new state by voting like Calis in elections there, and pass the Prop13 benefit to their grandchildren.”
                    Many claims, little evidence. Much forelock pulling, no mention of the overall effect. Proggy stink at high levels.
                    ———————————
                    “And Wasi/White are also perfectly willing to state the obvious re the impact on localities an unintended [not really] result of Prop 13 is to transfer public funds from inland to coastal California residents. This is because, following the adoption of Prop 13, the state of California took over responsibility for funding public education.”
                    Ah yes. The CA state government, in it’s benevolence, decided to fund education! And one of our resident lefty scumbags hopes we’ll buy that pile of shit.
                    JFree, you seemed to be ignoring the power of the thugs of the teachers’ unions, and I doubt that it is accidental.
                    Fuck off and die, slaver.

      2. JFree
        June.7.2019 at 10:54 am
        “They broke that connection a long time ago with Prop 13….”

        Proggy bullshit. Prop 13 had zero to do with roads.

  3. Where I live the Republicans have managed to fuck up traffic by building roads where people don’t live.

    1. My favorite is the bike-lane-to-no-where near my office. It was funded by the Obama admin during the recession (I know because they made sure there was a sign saying so). They had a requirement that a bike lane was installed to get the grant so for less then a mile of road there is a bike lane that abruptly starts and stops with no rhythm or reason. Not once have I seen anyone use it namely because there are back roads that run parallel to the main road that are safer and just a more picturesque ride.

      1. Near me they changed a four lane road to a two lane road with bike lanes. In two years, I’ve never seen a bicycle in those bike lanes.

      2. Bike lanes are dumb as hell but they result from a)thinking too small and b)dumb bike advocates here in the US who don’t give a damn about expanding biking-as-transportation.

        Cars and bikes and peds and trucks and buses and parked vehicles CAN’T SHARE SPACE. As long as bike advocates are road racers or mountain bikers or others who view biking as ‘sport’, then they are positively counterproductive when it comes to looking at how transport networks need to be reconfigured.

        You’re right that ‘back roads’ (or residential neighborhoods that force vehicles into lower priority than peds/bikes) are the solution. Where those different neighborhoods link themselves to each other by separate bike/ped paths — and completely eliminate bikes/parking from main vehicular arterials. That can never happen in CA now cuz CA no longer has a local tax base. It can only happen when a neighborhood itself decides on the most valuable use of its part of the overall transport grid – can fund that from its tax base – and is only constrained by state-level stuff where the local-only grid is connected to the go-everywhere grid.

        1. That can never happen in CA now cuz CA no longer has a local tax base.

          Yet local governments have the funds to build these dedicated bike lanes on major thoroughfares. How is that?

          1. Everyone here seems to be complaining that they are getting that money from a STATEWIDE gas tax – moron.

            1. Everyone here seems to be complaining that they are getting that money from a STATEWIDE gas tax – moron.

              And what was that gas tax for, you arrogant twit?

              Stop a moment and do some basic research on how much your average CA local entity spends in any given year. Understand that you’ve already shown that CA munies don’t lack property tax revenue compared to munies in other states.

              You simply have no fucking clue what you are talking about and if you can’t show a modicum of humility about that, you need to just stop.

            2. JFree
              June.7.2019 at 4:40 pm
              “Everyone here seems to be complaining that they are getting that money from a STATEWIDE gas tax – moron.”

              You, here, seem incapable of sticking with a subject.
              It’s no great surprise; you’re a fucking bullshitter and you get called on it every time.
              Rather than admit you’ve been lying, it’s ‘hey! look over there!’
              Pathetic piece of lefty shit…

  4. California Yellow Jackets?…

    1. How will they get to the protest site?

  5. So hopefully we won’t see any more nonsense about how libertarians would turn us into Somalia if they were in charge because they wouldn’t build roads?

    I’m also wondering if the geniuses who thought this little bait-and-switch up realize that if their plan succeeds in getting Californians out of their cars the gas tax revenues will drop.

    1. “the gas tax revenues will drop.”

      So? It turns out that there are others taxes in CA. And every one of them can be increased. The main point is to get people using transportation that the government can control.

    2. Another ‘bait and switch’ was CA prop 111 which promised to build roads and freeways. Instead the money was put into reinforcing roads to survive earthquakes.

  6. in fairness, in the progressive mindset less is often more

    cause reasons

    1. Minimalist dispersed scarcity utopia

  7. At least the money is not being siphoned off for other pet projects, or is it?

  8. “Roads are the fundamentals of a civilization,” he said. “Whether it was the Roman Empire or the United States of America, roads are the key to a nation’s greatness.”

    Brown may have revealed his true vision, since the Romans mostly used those roads for walking (or marching imperial troops).

  9. At a 2017 Riverside rally touting legislation to increase gas taxes and vehicle-license fees to boost California’s infrastructure spending, then-Gov. Jerry Brown was characteristically grandiose.

    “Roads are the fundamentals of a civilization,” he said. “Whether it was the Roman Empire or the United States of America, roads are the key to a nation’s greatness.”
    ——
    I thought Brown said Electric High-Speed Rail is the key to a nation’s greatness.
    Oh well, that asshole is gone but plenty to take his place.

  10. “Any normal person would think that meant building new street and highway lanes. This isn’t high-level math: Congestion is caused by too little road space for too many cars, so adding space is the key.”

    Doesn’t adding lanes and space for cars induce more traffic, which in turn makes the problem worse?

    1. What you say is true, but in a limited fashion. Adding better traffic flow (more lanes, higher speeds) means people will commute further… But within limits! Just because the roads are much better, will you tackle a 3-hour commute (one way)? For a slightly bigger house in the boondocks? Some foolish people will, but happiness studios say that they are making a very poor trade-off choice!

    2. Yes it does. In part because the laws of non-quantum physics require that one eliminate (most likely) housing at that point in space where one builds/expands new roads. Which means that (assuming we are not talking ‘virtual housing’ or wormholes) that housing needs to be replaced much farther away. Which means they now need to travel much farther than they did before. Which means they now add traffic-miles to the road system which creates congestion. And everyone else who now can now drive further because it doesn’t take as much time responds by increasing their driving miles not doing something else with their time.

      1. In part because the laws of non-quantum physics require that one eliminate (most likely) housing at that point in space where one builds/expands new roads.

        Keep in mind that the base topic here was the elimination of existing roadways to make room for bicycles using funds that were supposed to be used to clear traffic congestion.

        housing needs to be replaced much farther away

        As much as 10-15 feet!

        1. the base topic here was the elimination of existing roadways to make room for bicycles

          Well ain’t that a convenient starting point. Fact is those roadways were expanded in the past to accommodate the car. By eliminating the streetcar tracks – or narrowing sidewalks – or whatever. Which like all such expansions simply eliminated everything smaller or slower or more prone to dying than a car from the streets. Making it appear as if cars have always been king and demand exclusive use of public land. And now they are being narrowed – while cars are getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and demanding yet more space.

          I agree that the whole exercise in CA is stupid people will do stupid things. Because CA is full of – well – stupid people. But the fact is that roadspace is public land. And that means that each ‘generation’ has to decide the best way for that space to fulfill the ‘public mobility’ function. And those who are closest to the issue have the best knowledge of what they need/want now. That means a past monopoly on that space – imposed by now-dead people – cannot be imposed forever. Things will change. And it also means that conservatives – NOT libertarians – will oppose all such changes because conservatives ALWAYS oppose change. And always lose cuz they have no ideas other than ‘what exists now is good.’

          And no – housing does not ‘move 10-15 feet’. It gets torn down using eminent domain. Which golly – gas taxes don’t REMOTELY begin to cover.

          1. “…Which like all such expansions simply eliminated everything smaller or slower or more prone to dying than a car from the streets. Making it appear as if cars have always been king and demand exclusive use of public land. And now they are being narrowed – while cars are getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and demanding yet more space….”
            Are those nasty cars after you JFree? Do they show up in your dreams and under your bed?
            Do you think they’re conspiring to get you?

            “I agree that the whole exercise in CA is stupid people will do stupid things. Because CA is full of – well – stupid people. But the fact is that roadspace is public land. And that means that each ‘generation’ has to decide the best way for that space to fulfill the ‘public mobility’ function. And those who are closest to the issue have the best knowledge of what they need/want now. That means a past monopoly on that space – imposed by now-dead people – cannot be imposed forever. Things will change. And it also means that conservatives – NOT libertarians – will oppose all such changes because conservatives ALWAYS oppose change. And always lose cuz they have no ideas other than ‘what exists now is good.’”
            Are you drunk? Was there supposed to be a point buried in that pie of bullshit?

          2. Fact is those roadways were expanded in the past to accommodate the car.

            Nope. In California, they were, in fact, largely built specifically for the cars. Again, stop trying to lecture native Californians on the history of California.

            And now they are being narrowed – while cars are getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and demanding yet more space.

            Which is idiotic. This is what we’re trying to explain to you.

            Because CA is full of – well – stupid people.

            So is wherever you live, apparently.

            And that means that each ‘generation’ has to decide the best way for that space to fulfill the ‘public mobility’ function. And those who are closest to the issue have the best knowledge of what they need/want now.

            You mean the people who currently drive on those over-congested roads in their cars, or the hypothetical people that you assume would probably be on bikes and streetcars if they were provided them?

            And no – housing does not ‘move 10-15 feet’. It gets torn down using eminent domain. Which golly – gas taxes don’t REMOTELY begin to cover.

            Now you’re just flailing. Do you know how wide a road is? Do you know how much space you need to make it wider? Think about it for two seconds, please.

            We get it – you’ve been to the Netherlands and you thought it was super cool, and you don’t get the difference between small densely populated countries and large spacious ones.

            1. In California, they were, in fact, largely built specifically for the cars.

              That’s not true. The Pasadena Freeway was originally built and right-of-way purchased as an elevated cycleway. Red Cars and Yellow Cars were the largest electric rail system in the world in the 1920’s – housing built along their lines are STILL the densest housing in LA. Roads didn’t even start being built ‘for cars’ there until 1933 when the city’s new traffic engineer had the idea to eliminate everything except cars – no peds, no trolleys, no bikes, no horses/carriages/wagons. Just cars so velocities could increase.

              Do you know how wide a road is?

              Harbor Freeway destroyed 20,000 homes. Ramona Boulevard – 4,000 in the first widening (google that for before/after photos – before the 2nd widening in the 50’s). Countywide – 4 units destroyed for each one built to replace it during the first state-subsidized road-widening/freeway building binge in the 1950’s. Where did folks who lived there move? San Bernardino and San Fernando Valley I suppose – for a longer commute to add to the congestion. Rinse and repeat. You don’t ‘widen roads’ in places you actually want to widen them without destroying housing. Period.

    3. Doesn’t adding lanes and space for cars induce more traffic, which in turn makes the problem worse?

      To a certain limit, yes, because there are currently people who choose considerably less efficient modes of transportation because driving has become so infeasible in certain areas.

      But assuming that curve is going to continue on the same upward trend for each unit of road you build is the same type of thinking that has people worried the world is going to end in 12 years.

      1. Cyclists are a strong lobby in CA.

        1. What kind of ‘cyclists’? The spandex asshole brigade?

          The different direction the US and Netherlands took from the early 1970’s on shows what an ACTUAL cycling lobby does. In both countries, the post-WW2 era was marked by making the car central to transportation. Which resulted in urban teardowns, street widening, suburbanization, increasing fatalities, etc by the early 70’s when the oil price shock/embargo also happened. Where the two went from there differed 100%.

          In the US, biking basically surrendered. Helmets became viewed as ‘normal’ and even a requirement. Parents simply assumed that they now had to drive their kids everywhere and that that (and the excessive attention they now paid to what their kids were doing) was now normal. And with no one biking casually on the streets anymore, biking simply declined. So a ‘cycling lobby’ is exclusively road racer types who think they are competing in the Tour de France and enjoy the ‘extreme sports’ element of it all.

          In the Netherlands, cyclists protested and specifically on behalf of kids being able to bike/walk without being killed by cars (Stop de KinderMoord). Completely different dynamic. Commuting wasn’t the priority – the areas to/from/around schools was. Bike lanes were quickly discarded in favor of separating the traffic altogether. In residential and central commercial areas, that meant subordinating (physically if necessary) the car to bikes/peds. On arterials, it meant eliminating parking/bikes/peds so traffic can speed up. Helmets are unheard of. Kids bike to school and are basically transportation-independent by 12 or so. Over 40 years or so, regular road maintenance/planning has resulted in connecting residential areas with other areas via bike paths and roundabouts and such so that biking is now viable city-wide – even commuting. And when you see a ton of biking for daily stuff, more people start biking for longer trips and daily stuff. There is no ‘bike culture’ there. They ride bikes because it is safe and easy and convenient and cheap.

          1. Parents simply assumed that they now had to drive their kids everywhere and that that (and the excessive attention they now paid to what their kids were doing) was now normal.

            Be careful shooting from the hip like that – you might wind up striking a point you weren’t aiming at.

            1. It’s true. The more we center the car as the sole transportation option, the more we will have to chauffeur kids around precisely because that is a transportation option they can’t do on their own. They can never negotiate or win an “I’m here. You stop” conflict with a car/driver. The more we chauffeur kids around, the more likely they are to turn into a bunch of soft lazy fat entitled princesses who will never be independent and who will be very willing to turn into people who want the state to chauffeur them around and be their nanny when they ‘grow up’ because that’s the only thing they have ever known. Does this strike a chord as to where we seem to be going? Good. That’s EXACTLY the chord I intended with that shot from the hip.

              Making sure that public land set aside for public mobility can ACTUALLY be used by everyone regardless of age or size or speed is a legitimate policy goal. Hell I would even favor lower the voting age to 12 for a municipal level transportation planning commission. In this country that may be the only way kids actually get to have a voice re the transportation/mobility options that work for them. And their voice is also going to resonate with the disabled, those elderly who can no longer handle a car at speed but can handle a scooter/golfcart, those who can’t really afford a car or would prefer to buy something else instead, etc.

              It really shouldn’t be about IMPOSING bikes. It should be about people being free to CHOOSE bikes for their daily use in a meaningful way. Kids are the only Americans who get that. Who can imagine a FREER world for themselves with transportation independence. Not the spandex crowd. Not drivers who have already bought into the car company marketing agitprop that only the car can do that. And not public sector bureaucrats/leeches.

              1. All you’re doing is demonstrating how little you understand about California. California is not the Netherlands. Not because the people are stupid, as you claim, but because the geography and population distribution are 100% different. You think you understand why cars dominate California transportation culture, but you don’t.

                Trains have been tried again and again and again in California. Things in California are simply spread too far apart for bikes or trains to be viable. There’s not some popular movement for bikes and trains being thwarted by some evil automotive conspiracy – trains almost always come from top-down decisions and it’s generally about trying to concentrate population in certain areas to benefit well connected interests. They almost never originate from trying to alleviate actually existing traffic in actually existing corridors between actually existing dense population centers, because that’s just not how California came to be – it came to be because cars, and that’s not going to change just because some pedantic asswipe on the other side of the country thinks we’re stupid.

                And please fuck off with that “Listen to the Children” shit.

                1. Things in California are simply spread too far apart for bikes or trains to be viable.

                  Don’t tell me. Tell those localities in California who disagree with YOUR attempt to impose what works in their California location on THEM. I’m not imposing anything. I even oppose almost everything federal on transport now including the interstates where they are already built – because income tax is a crappy way to pay for infrastructure.

                  that’s just not how California came to be – it came to be because cars

                  California became dominated by cars because TONS of tax money in CA was spent to ensure that cars dominated transport there. Which is fine – and rather statist of you to defend. But whatever was spent in the past to make that so is also a sunk cost. Which can often create a sunk cost fallacy.

                2. Nothing about California’s car culture emerged naturally. It was specifically engineered, and then, catered to.

                  You’re right that it’s hard, nigh impossible, to impose efficient and effective mass transit on a transportation network designed to spread people out and a land use policy designed to encourage sprawl. Those are decisions policymakers in past generations made, financed in large part by public debt, tax revenues, and annexation. All of those techniques have a natural limit however, that many communities across the country are beginning to face.

                  There are many interests that favor density. Why? Because density works. Dense development means employers have more potential employees to choose from; employees have more employers to choose from; large and small businesses have richer catchment areas; the delivery of public services is more efficient and cheaper per capita; and so on. The only reason that so many American communities are sprawling automotive wastelands is because we have heavily subsidized and directly mandated that exact outcome, for generations.

                  Reversing that arrangement is not top-down, centralized control. It’s using tax dollars more efficiently – by funding mass transit instead of bloated highways – and cultivating tax revenues – by improving property values and strengthening businesses.

                  1. Oh look, somebody else claiming the trend of individual auto transport and the suburbs was deliberate government engineering and not a result of the preferences of the population.

                    The actual cause and effect was exactly the opposite. People like the freedom of autos to go where they want, when they and not have to plan their daily movements around mass transit routes and schedules. They also like to have more space to live in rather than be jammed up in dense urban environments.

                    The politicians were catering to how people wanted to live – not dragging them kicking and screaming into using cars and moving to suburbs.

                    1. The politicians were catering to how people wanted to live – not dragging them kicking and screaming into using cars and moving to suburbs.

                      When you use eminent domain to tear down houses in order to widen/build roads, then you are NOT ‘catering to how people wanted to live’. You are eliminating their housing. You may not then ‘drag them kicking and screaming’ to the suburbs. But ignoring the FACT that you tore down their houses is a pretty fucking big deal to ignore for a site where all the auto assclowns purport to be ‘the true libertarians’.

                    2. I am not sure that “well, that’s what people wanted” is a very good response to my observation that suburban lifestyles come at massive public cost.

                      Look at any municipal budget and figure out where the tax revenue is coming from, and where it’s going. Suburbia is a cancer on the beating hearts of cities, a massive redistribution of wealth that’s been going on for decades. Is that what suburbanites want? I’m sure it is. That’s not exactly a point in its favor.

                    3. “When you use eminent domain to tear down houses in order to widen/build roads, then you are NOT ‘catering to how people wanted to live’. You are eliminating their housing. ”

                      The same thing goes for using eminent domain for anything else – schools, libraries , fire stations, police stations, government office buildings, etc. You are incapable of proving that using it to build roads (anywhere) is one iota more illegitimate in any way that using it for anything else. All those other uses were also catering to what people wanted as well.

                    4. “Look at any municipal budget and figure out where the tax revenue is coming from, and where it’s going. Suburbia is a cancer on the beating hearts of cities, a massive redistribution of wealth that’s been going on for decades.”

                      Nonsense. Municipalities spend far more money on lots of other things that they do on roads – particularly school systems. Extremely costly schools systems top heavy with overpaid administrators and unionized labor. The lefty urban types hate the suburbs because it allows people to escape the municipal tax base. The people who left for the suburbs were the ones who were having THEIR wealth redistributed to other people in the cities.
                      I

          2. The Netherlands is _flat_. That makes bicycling easy. Most of the USA isn’t.

  11. My employer was on a three lane (middle turn lane) street. It’s all light manufacturing except for one block of residential at the end. It’s a road for delivery trucks of all sizes. Last year the got rid of the middle line, scrunched the other two lines together, narrowed them, and added a huge bicycle lane on either side. Bicycle lanes that actually END as they reach the single residential block.

    In four years working here I have NEVER seen a bicycle on this street, other than the residential block (which didn’t get bike lanes).

    What chaps my hide most are all these government bootlickers and fawners who think government activity is rational and we need to give them ever more power over our lives. They actually think government planned out these bike lanes by analyzing traffic data and bicycle usage and shit. Hah! They built those lanes on this street where it wasn’t needed because it was cheaper than where they were needed, and then threw a party for themselves for being such forward looking progressives.

    1. They actually think government planned out these bike lanes by analyzing traffic data and bicycle usage and shit.

      They almost certainly did! They probably spent hundreds of thousands of dollars doing it. They almost certainly have a drawer full of studies and maps and charts and analyses.

      But yes – they implemented that one section of the plan because it was cheap and easy. The rest of the plan will decay to dust by the time a new bug crawls up their butts and they re-plan the city around a new fad. Someday someone will come across the disused remnants of the bike-traffic plan in a drawer being sent to the dump and have a quick chuckle.

    2. I’m glad to see the tyranny of retarded bicycle lanes is also killing the rest of the country.

    3. Whereas, streets naturally emerge wherever and whenever they’re needed, absent government planning.

  12. Government just loves to solves problems it, and it alone, creates. Collect taxes in one hand spend it immediately with the other. “I love taxes, because taxes are for me, nom nom nom”
    They will make gas so expensive only the rich will drive in California.

  13. “Any normal person would think that meant building new street and highway lanes.”
    True, but irrelevant; the election was in California, where the term ‘normal person’ does not have any meaning.
    You get what you vote for. They voted for fascists, they got fascists.

    1. I get what everyone else votes for. How is it my fault?

      1. I can safely state that there has never been an elected CA official who got my vote.
        Further, I can safely state that my vote supported perhaps 1/10 of the propositions; notable Prop 13, which was and is nothing other than a good start.
        Prop 13 *should* be modified; it should be extended to all properties.

        1. The rules apply equally to all real estate, residential and commercial—whether owned by individuals or corporations. Are you imagining it should apply to boats, cars etc.?

  14. In the city of Sacramento, near where I live […]

    May I introduce you to Ilya Somin? Their advocacy for foot voting might be relevant.

    And if you feel it is not, would you please explain it to Somin? They don’t seem to understand why it doesn’t work out as well as they think.

  15. Romance of the Rails is a great cure for anyone who thinks public transport is designed to work well, although it does require a half-open mind. It chronicles in great detail all the shenanigans which have propped up public transport, especially light rail, but including buses. There are enough statistics and charts to back up its claims for all but the most fanatic government fanboi. The kindle edition is pretty cheap too, and the charts are readable on kindle with a little effort.

  16. Sitting in traffic burns more gas which increases tax revenue duh.

  17. You get what you vote for. Another side issue will be delivery goods inflation, basically everything. Food, building materials, medicine for the inevitable public health crisis, etc. What a mess. Prog’s cannot legally seize assets, so they will collapse the evil, evil, taxpaying rich by suffocation and control.

    And its not “civilization”, its California.

    1. You get what you vote for.

      No I don’t.

      1. I understand and sympathize–Colorado was a purple state 5 minutes ago and now the swarming of tyrannical central planners from California and the Northeast have turned us blue. Its a comedy tragedy with emphasis on tragedy.

        1. States in the south and west exploit disproportionate power in the federal government to extract wealth from the coasts; they implement generous tax breaks and lax regulatory policy designed to attract businesses and residents; those businesses and residents come; and then they complain about how development and prosperity has ruined their politics.

          Just typical red state solipsism.

  18. Why do we let politicians decide this shit for us wont someone answer me??

    1. Because the politicians sign the paychecks of the cops, and the cops have the guns… And are licensed to shoot you and your dogs!

  19. I’m not so sure the narrower streets reduce accidents either. They may be less serious because of the lower speeds, but narrower lanes give less room to maneuver, and increased congestion causes more sudden stops and rear-end collisions at green lights when traffic still can’t move.

  20. Bike lanes are mostly just window dressing. You see 2 or 3 people using them for every thousand or so cars. They make the commute worse by encouraging bicyclists you have to watch out for.

    Light rail can be helpful, when the routes makes make sense. But many cities avoid obvious places people would use light rail, like airports and ballparks, because of taxi lobbies or other reasons. No one wants to switch to a bus to get to the airport.

    1. Parking fees.
      You forgot parking fees at airports and ballparks, and convention centers.

  21. they at least will see tangible improvements in their commutes

    So is this the new plutocratic libertarian idea? Gas taxes provide revenue from commuters – so the state should use its coercive powers on behalf of those commuters to run roughshod over local neighborhoods.

    I can fucking guarantee you that the people who live near those “road-diet” places WANT LESS TRAFFIC THERE. Most likely they are places with signs in the yard that say Drive as if your kid lives here. They do not want a rat run for thru-traffic commuters and higher vehicle speed. It is in other words a classic conflict between two different groups of people who DO NOT AGREE ON THE GOAL.

    And rather than address what is actually a difficult sort of conflict – one where Hayekian ideas of knowledge might be quite useful, the morons here want to resort to simple state coercion in furtherance of a ‘libertarian’ ideology. Gawdallfuckingmighty. No wonder libertarians get no respect.

    1. JFree
      June.7.2019 at 12:30 pm
      “[…] And rather than address what is actually a difficult sort of conflict – one where Hayekian ideas of knowledge might be quite useful, the morons here want to resort to simple state coercion in furtherance of a ‘libertarian’ ideology. Gawdallfuckingmighty. No wonder libertarians get no respect.”

      Was there some sort of a point buried in that pile of bullshit, other than you dragging one red herring after the other?
      No wonder proggies get laughed-at.

    2. It is in other words a classic conflict between two different groups of people who DO NOT AGREE ON THE GOAL.

      I though it was because the stupid voters used Prop 13 to steal money from local governments?

    3. I can fucking guarantee you that the people who live near those “road-diet” places WANT LESS TRAFFIC THERE.

      And you might be wrong. They put a road diets and bike lanes on the street I live on and it blows and is now less safe.

      1. So you LIVE on a rat run and like it? If so, you are the first I’ve ever encountered. In my neighborhood (urban residential/mixed single family grid w alleys), everyone wants to be able to access the arterial a couple blocks away – but ain’t no one interested in having the arterial run by their front door. And the traffic change people really want is to cut off thru traffic altogether with physical obstructions like strategically placed bollards.

        I agree that bike lanes are a curse brought on by bike advocates who are arrogant spandex assholes rather than biking-for-normal-people (like say KIDS). Bike lanes don’t work for normal casual here-to-there biking – which is why they aren’t used.

        1. JFree
          June.7.2019 at 3:26 pm
          “So you LIVE on a rat run and like it? If so, you are the first I’ve ever encountered. In my neighborhood (urban residential/mixed single family grid w alleys), everyone wants to be able to access the arterial a couple blocks away – but ain’t no one interested in having the arterial run by their front door. And the traffic change people really want is to cut off thru traffic altogether with physical obstructions like strategically placed bollards.”
          So what?

        2. Yes, I live on a rat run and I don’t like it because of the noise, but the road diet is/was stupid. I chose to live there because it was cheaper– and I also recognize the utility of the 4-way, high(er) speed thoroughfare. It’s the primary arterial from the north part my quadrant of the city to the south end. It’s how ambulances, fire, police– everyone gets through at speed.

          However, I also have to back out of my driveway onto it… because I have the foresight of something slightly better than a gnat, I realized what would and did happen when they squeezed it down to two lanes. Now you’ve got less traffic dispersal and so traffic runs in a continuous, unbreaking long line. And when people used to go 25 in a 35, (this is Seattle where no one has ever heard of a fucking speed limit) now they do 17 in a 30. It gargles balls.

          Yes, I realize that a lot of people don’t want traffic front of their houses, but that’s not where I’m seeing road diets. I’m seeing them all on the main thoroughfares that are now just perpetually jammed with traffic after the diet.

          1. The very people who claim to want to save the planet from global warming have essentially idled thousands of cars in a single line at a light surrounded by empty bike lanes– because of the earth.

          2. It’s interesting to me that, having claimed that the road diet on your street has made it “less safe,” your response to JFree doesn’t describe how it’s less safe at all. You’ve suggested it’s more inconvenient – you now have to back into heavier traffic – but this seems to have been only a minor imposition. Meanwhile, you report that traffic speeds have slowed dramatically, which reduces the risk of serious injury or death from traffic crashes across the board.

  22. My two cents
    Once California gets all cars electric and starts shutting down the electricity due to high winds every other week people will have to use their bikes because there will be no electricity to charge the cars. See long term thinking here

  23. To paraphrase HL Mencken, the people of California know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

  24. As someone who once spent hours driving 50 miles on a decrepit and insanely crowded third-world country’s “highways,”

    New Jersey?

  25. One notoriously effective way to fight statist stupids is to turn their own weapons against them. This one is rather easy, actually, and it seems both the author and reviewers are missing the bigger picture. Sacramento ranks nearly dead-last in air quality. Ozone (which is corrosive to lung tissue) is one of the primary contributors to that ranking. Most ozone comes from vehicle exhaust. Traffic congestion causes ozone levels to surge locally to dangerous levels (whereas fast-moving cars disperse their exhaust and thus do not cause ozone problems). Sacramento and other cities likely are in violation of air quality standards. Unleash the EPA on these idiots.

    1. While we’re at it, let’s hunt them down over nitrous oxide, PM5, smog, and all the other nasty stuff that dribbles out of idling tailpipes.

    2. They’ve been in violation for years and the EPA knows that. All that happens is that the EPA and the city get together and draw up plans for something that won’t happen. Rather like the Soviets old five-year plans.

  26. In all fairness, it WILL make it much easier to bicycle the 58 miles from home to work. (Little bit of sarcasm there)

  27. Road diets are traffic engineering.

    The perception that reducing car lanes increases congestion is, often, simply false. It’s easy to think that when you’re sitting in your car, wondering why you’re not going anywhere. But the driver’s ideal of a wide-open street with nothing slowing them down is, in traffic-engineering terms, inefficient. If a driver loves driving on a street, it’s almost certain that it’s a colossal waste of money.

    In addition, road diets often improve traffic flow, which they do by carving out space for turns, setting aside space for loading, and eliminating or putting a price on parking.

    It makes perfect sense to tax drivers and use that tax money to make streets safer. Why shouldn’t drivers pay more for the pollution and risks of injury they hoist on everyone else? Why isn’t that an equitable redistribution of resources?

    1. There is something called Braess’ paradox that gets at that.

      Most grid-based street systems will tend to reduce congestion if they eliminate many thru streets entirely. The longer the expected trip thru that grid, the more thru streets can be closed to reduce congestion.

    2. SimonP
      June.7.2019 at 7:51 pm
      “…It makes perfect sense to tax drivers and use that tax money to make streets safer.”
      Claiming facts not in evidence; stinks like a lefty.

      “Why shouldn’t drivers pay more for the pollution and risks of injury they hoist on everyone else?”
      Oh, boy! Yep, congestion reduces pollution according to the slaver.

      “Why isn’t that an equitable redistribution of resources?””
      Lefty now claims “redistribution of resources” is a goal.
      Fuck off and die, slaver. Please do it someplace where the stench of “proggy” won’t bother the rest of us.

      1. Your schtick is worn out, Sevo.

  28. Mr. Greenhut,

    You stated that it doesn’t make any sense but it does. How can you ensure even more money from a gas tax hike? Make people spend more time in their cars. That’s right, reduce lanes and increase traffic times!

  29. They have this insanity down to a science in Seattle… It’s so infuriating.

  30. […] Californians Are Now Paying Higher Gas Taxes. Cities Are Responding by Reducing Lanes for Cars. […]

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