Berkeley Transportation Commission

Proposed Resolutions


1. Whereas motor vehicles are the largest remaining source of air pollution;

Whereas they are also the major contributor to global warming;

Whereas they are also the major contributor, via their air conditioners, to ozone depletion;

Whereas they are the major source of noise pollution;

Whereas vehicle miles of travel are increasing faster than the population and faster than the number of vehicles;

Whereas this over-reliance on motor vehicles is caused largely by enormous subsidies that make their use appear inexpensive;

Whereas the disparity between rich and poor is unconscionable and is increasing;

Whereas sales taxes used for motor vehicle facilities, and zoning requirements mandating parking provision, force non-motorists (the poorer segment of society) to subsidize motorists (the wealthier segment);

Whereas our cities are badly in need of funds and generally cannot increase either property or sales or income taxes;

Whereas a "market-based" (pricing) strategy minimizes administrative overhead while maximizing freedom of choice;

Therefore, it is recommended that the City Council of the City of Berkeley:

a. audit its expenditures related to motor vehicles and report on the amounts, where they are spent, and the sources of the funds;

b. adopt a policy of eliminating all subsidies to motor vehicle use, by requiring that motor vehicle users, and only motor vehicle users, pay for the services that are specific to motor vehicle use.

Specifically, it is recommended that all free parking in the City be eliminated; that all requirements for the provision of motor vehicle facilities, except those for emergency vehicles and for the disabled, be eliminated from the zoning statutes (e.g. those for the provision of a minimum number of parking spaces in new developments); that all motor vehicle facilities and services be paid for out of user fees (such as gas taxes or parking taxes), rather than property or sales taxes, which are regressive; that street maintenance be paid for by only motor vehicle users, since they are the only ones that cause damage to the streets. (Alternative wording for a policy and ordinance is offered by the "Free Market for Transportation" paper from the Modern Transit Society, on pp. 11 & 16.)