The April 3 article on GreenBike’s expansion highlighted how bikeshare is becoming a part of the city’s fabric. The article addressed system revenues, stating that funding is “24 percent from memberships — a disparity that needs to shrink long term.” Any article written about bikeshare or transit inevitably addresses what many elected officials and members of the public would call, oftentimes in the pejorative, a “subsidy.” Yes, it’s a subsidy, no question about it. What I don’t understand is why elected officials and journalists never address how we subsidize highway widening projects. The subsidies for highway that will result from the Legislature’s passage of $300 million in GARVEE funds were never part of the story. The fact is federal gas taxes account for only 66 percent of federal transportation funds, meaning that nearly $100 million of the GARVEE program will be subsidized by general taxes, not user fees. The fact is we heavily subsidize all modes of transportation for many reasons, so let’s be honest about it and report on it. Supporters of GARVEE would likely tout economic and safety benefits as reasons to support or excuse the subsidy. Those are the same reasons why we subsidize bikeshare and transit.
Don Kostelec, Boise