Monday, September 17, 2007

MVB True Believers Club: Things that give us hope...

despite living here:

The electric car. CBS' Sunday Morning show had this exciting and hope inducing story on next generation electric cars. GM's Volt looks so promising and we wish them and the entire American auto industry luck.

Because the Republic of Singapore experiences one of the worst traffic congestion problems in the world, it has come up with an enviable solution that portends what other governments may find themselves doing in the near future to reduce the number of cars on the road:
  • Anyone who wants to buy a car must bid for a "Certificate of Entitlement" (COE). Bid prices vary depending upon the number of units available for bidding and the size of the car. Unless someone can show proof of owning a COE, that person cannot buy a car. The COE is valid for ten years and the bidder pays the lowest successful price for that category. COEs are not transferable. COEs can be re-evaluated after ten years for an extension of another five or ten years. However, if one bids and wins an extension, no further extensions will be entertained, i.e., after the extension, the COE no longer becomes renewable. You can bid for a COE via an ATM, phone banking or online banking facilities at participating bank and new car dealerships. The money raised by selling COEs helps fund public transportation-- from building new mass transit lines to maintaining and improving infrastructure. There are three car sizes.
  • Category A: Cars up to 1600 cc.
  • Category B: Cars above 1600cc.
  • Category C: Used cars.
COEs are further broken down into:
  • Regular (365 days)
  • Weekend
Price then for a COE is determined by the size of the car, the number of units available, market demand, and length of use. But this creative funding model for public transportation doesn't stop there. Singapore also imposes an ANNUAL ROAD TAX on every car based on the size of its engine:
  • 600cc = $400.00
  • 601-1000cc = $400.00 + 0.25 cents for every cc above 600 up to 1000.
  • 1001-1600cc = $500.00 + 0.75 cents for every cc above 1001 up to 1600.
  • 1601-3000cc = $950.00 + $1.50 for every cc above 1601 up to 3000.
  • Over 3000cc = $3050.00 + $2.00 for every cc above 3000. As an example, if you own a big monster with 6000cc (366 cubic inches), you pay $3,050.00 PLUS $2.00/cc above 3000 which is an extra $6,000.00 or $9,050.00 PER YEAR. The fabled American muscle car 427 engine (7,000cc) would set you back an extra $11,050.00 PER YEAR.
We like the idea of taxing drivers to pay for mass transit. Using a graduated scale based on engine size and the amount of use seems fair and appears to be viable proven way to wean Americans off the car while raising money for mass transit. Now if we could only come up with a way of taxing rude drivers. Since we live in a community recognized as having the rudest drivers in the U.S., its incomprehensible how much money could be raised for local mass transit projects such as the... Baylink monorail.

UpDate (9/19): According to today's Miami Herald, south Florida drivers spend over a work week (50 hours) each year idling in rush hour traffice, costing the local economy $2.7 billion in lost worker time, etc, or $903 per driver in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.

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