In today's print edition of the Spokesman Review an article about taxing private parking lots to make up for lost tax revenue elsewhere also contained an inset stating that City Councilman Jon Snyder is studying the creation of a bike registration fee. That bit is not present in the online version of the article.
Snyder is quoted as researching the idea and that a proposal could emerge this year. Councilman Richard Rush is quoted as saying the fee is "a very interesting concept" that he is open to especially if the money is used for bike trails and other bike improvements.
I find this news disturbing for two reasons. First of all, it's included in an article about the city looking to increase tax revenues. Consequently, bike registration could be no more about theft prevention than photo red is about safety. Secondly, there's no information about what bike registration would entail leaving this wide open to conjecture, hence the sentence that precedes this one.
As luck would have it I ran into Jon Snyder this afternoon and asked him about this. He was kind enough to fill in the blanks for me. Here's the gist of it.
He told Jonathan Brunt, the Review reporter, that this was premature. He's looking at adding a fee to every new bike sold which would go towards bike facilities and not into the general fund. However, he believes state law must first change before that fee would be permitted. The money raised would be matched by state or federal funds and again be for bike facilities. The city is looking at a huge deficit and needs to be creative in meeting shortfalls. Last of all, he welcomes cyclists to join in on the discussion and the process.
*** Update ***
Jon Snyder sent me this link from his site where he explains in greater detail.
Let me count the reasons: 1) The City has adopted a very popular Master Bike Plan that does not have dedicated funding for implementation, 2) diseases of inactivity are of epidemic proportions in Spokane County where at least 20,000 have diabetes, 3) kids lack safe routes to schools, 4) bicycle transportation saves on fuel and puts more money back into local economy, and 5) state and federal transportation funding are more rewarding communities that put in more bike facilities and complete streets strategies. I could go on.
2 days ago