Silly season usually arrives in August...
You've probably heard by now that the state of Iowa wants to charge a license fee for bicyclists. It would cost $10 and be good for 5 years. The idea is that since us pesky cyclists use the roads, we should help pay for them.
Here are my sources:
The Iowa transportation budget for 2006 was $1.1 billion.
Iowa's population is almost 3 million.
The US population is almost 300 million.
The number of US cyclists is 57 million.
The estimated number of cyclists in Iowa is 570,000, assuming it's proportional to the US figures.
If a license costs $10/yr, that's $5.7 million, but spread over 5 years it amounts to $1.14 million/yr, or roughly one tenth of one percent of the transportation budget.
A multi-use trail costs about $1 million per mile to construct. Iowa's proposed license fee, therefore, would purchase a little over one mile of new multi-use trail each year.
It's likely that this idea grew out of the push to exempt county governments from suits over hazardous road conditions. If that's the case, perhaps they should erect signs like this one at the state line.