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Old 01-11-2013, 01:43 PM   #32
gggplaya
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpshumway View Post
The US relies much more on trucking than other countries partly because of the subsidies to road infrastructure. Trains are a much more efficient way to move goods, both fuel wise and traffic wise.



Every form of taxation will impose some level of distortion on the marketplace, but that doesn't change the fact that we need infrastructure for the marketplace to function, and we therefore need to raise revenue to pay for that infrastructure. The key is to devise a taxation scheme which has minimal administrative costs while raising the required revenue in the least distortionary (most efficient) way.



See my above post for how a well implemented mileage tax would do exactly this. If the mileage tax on a Tahoe driven 10,000 mi a year was $800 while the mileage tax on a Focus driven the same amount was $200, that would be a pretty good incentive to buy the Focus instead of the Tahoe.
There isn't any more land to build train tracks unless you are basically out in the middle of nowhere. 80% of goods are trucked because america is extremely vast, trucking is also quicker to transport goods than a train. So if you shift from trucking cross country to simply local trucking and cross country trains, you will need to add many more tracks from all the extra railroad traffic.

A train leaves on a certain schedule. You are adding the extra step of loading all of your goods onto a cargo container, driving it to the trainyard, offloading onto the train. Wait for the train to leave towards it's destination. At every stop the train will offload and reload some cargo. Trains have to slow down for certain intersections. Then when it gets to your nearby train stop(which would be hours of driving in the midwest). You have to get your cargo offloaded. Then drive to your destination and offload your cargo like normal.

An 18 wheeler is different. First truck drivers usually keep 2 log books and fudge them as needed to make their destination in record time. They can leave and travel as soon as their cargo is loaded. They have to stop every 150 miles for a 15 minute break and check their cargo(flatbed trailer). They have to take so many sleep breaks if it's a long haul.

I've been all over the country for my job, i work with truck drivers all the time to move my goods. While a train has its uses and in some circumstances can be better for transporting if your product doesn't need to ship very fast, and you're located relatively close to a train depot. But i really don't see anyone investing trillions of dollars into buying land, tearing down houses, and laying down tracks in the vast open united states.

Trucking will continue because time is money. America is one of the worst countries for being too fast paced in a "want it now" impatient society. If you tax per mile, if you raise the price of fuel, if you tax by vehicle size and weight, or per axle, trucking will continue. They'll just charge higher fees and as an end result your groceries as well as other good will go way up in price. Keep in mind that about 65% of our produce and seafood is imported into the U.S. So that all has to be trucked in from an east coast or west coast port to you local city in a very timely manner(due to spoiling).
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Last edited by gggplaya; 01-11-2013 at 01:50 PM.
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