Saturday, July 21, 2012

Paying for Infrastructure - Cycle Paths in 1896

The Referee and Cycle Trade Journal: a Weekly Record and Review of Cycling and the Cycle Trade. Volume 17, Number 1 - May 7, 1896, page 50. Available online

The more things stay the same . . . the more things stay the same. Really though this is quite different since such discussions today focus on proportionality and whether cyclists contribute to their infrastructure at the same rate as drivers contribute to the infrastructure for motor vehicles. But let's just look at the situation in 1896 for now . . .


The solution of the financial problems associated with cycle path programmes by the imposition of a tax on all owners of bicycles within the districts affected is an easy but by no means always desirable one. There is strong opposition being manifested just now against a bill providing for such a tax which has been introduced into the New York legislature and in many other localities the proposition has been duplicated.

Only when a thorough canvass of the riding community reveals a practical unanimity of sentiment in favor of such a measure does it enter the field of reasonable and proper legislation. Falling short of this measure of endorsement by those whom it chiefly affects, it takes rank with the most vicious examples of unwarranted and discriminating law making.
(What is meant by "Wheel Tax" would be a tax on bicycles - here, "wheel"="bicycle.")

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