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Who Should Pay for Streets?

Electric scooters in Portland will pay a road fee, but according to this article, cities would do well to hold cars to the same standard as scooters.
August 6, 2018, 8am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Scooter Share

[Updated August 7, 2018] E-scooter companies are going to start paying a fee for road use in Portland. Joe Cortright argues cars should too. When Seattle gets scooter share from Lime, the company will pay a $365 yearly fee to support street maintenance. Cortright argues cars should be asked to do the same.

"Scooters are smaller and cleaner than cars. A scooter occupies only a tiny fraction of the space occupied by a typical automobile," Joe Cortright writes for City Observatory. It seems only fair to Cortright that the city ask for a similar or larger fee from drivers. "If they each paid a dollar a day toward the cost of city streets, that would work out to about $365 per day, which is more than triple the amount of money that the State of Oregon (not the city) charges as an annual vehicle registration fee," Cortright argues.

Beyond space considerations, there are maintenance costs to consider, a vehicle that weighs close to a ton is going to put a lot more wear on a street than a 25-pound scooter. Some cities charge more than Portland for city stickers and city sticker tickets. In Chicago, policies that have increased those costs have lead to bankruptcies. Still, if cities are serious about climate change, a higher yearly cost for drivers maybe a way to get more walkers, bikers, and scooter riders.

[The post was corrected to reflect the correct location for the scooter fee policy. The previous version fo the post erroneously located the policy news in Seattle.]

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Published on Tuesday, July 31, 2018 in City Observatory
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