User fees and road costs
Last month, there was an interesting report from a US group called The Tax Foundation on the fraction of US state and local road costs contributed by registration fees, tolls, petrol taxes, and other charges for road users. It turned out to average about 1/3 — that’s just actual monetary costs, not the costs that drivers impose on others through congestion or carbon emissions.
In New Zealand, the fraction for local roads seems to be higher — if you look at the Funding Assistance Rates that say how much the NZ Transport Agency pays toward council road maintenance, operation, and renewal, it varies around roughly 50% (for Wellington, it happens to be 44%). According to NZTA, the rest of the money comes through mechanisms that don’t specifically target drivers, such as council rates.
So, why did I single out the 44% for Wellington? Well, that’s where anyone not at the wheel of a car is apparently a `guest’ on the roads. Or, with unsettling plausibility, `roadkill’.
Thomas Lumley (@tslumley) is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with. See all posts by Thomas Lumley »