Re: “Don’t use? Shouldn’t have to pay,” Letters, The Leader, April 24.
Letter-writer Dale Floyd asks why people who don’t use public transit should have to contribute to it through taxes.
Here are three reasons:
1. Even when we can’t use transit ourselves, we gain more space on the road every time someone else boards a bus or SkyTrain.
Next time you’re in a traffic jam, try to count the 40 cars closest to you (it’s often impossible to see that far), and then imagine that all those 40 drivers were in a bus instead. Multiply by 100 more buses, and you get the picture.
2. Even if we can’t use transit right now in our lives, there will be times when we can. We’ll change jobs, or need to economize, or get too old to drive, or whatever – and we’ll be grateful that we have a healthy transit system in place. Like public health care, public transit needs to be supported by everyone, even during periods of our lives when we rarely if ever use it.
3. The idea of paying taxes for only those services that we personally use is a very slippery slope. Why should I contribute to ice rinks, swimming pools, sports arenas, soccer fields, skateboard parks, or even schools and community centres? I don’t use any of those. But I gladly pay, because those are great facilities for many other people, and they’re a big part of what makes our whole community healthy and vibrant.
We’re all in this together. And looking at the even bigger picture: When the costs of education, health, transit and other expensive services are shared, the middle class benefits and prospers.
If each of us pays only for those services we use right now, ultimately only the rich will be able to afford what they need, when they need it.