Sharrow: Bike tax fulfills $ needs
       Regarding the Editor's Desk column, “Let's 'sharrow' the costs, too,” in the Sept. 15 Westside Pioneer, cyclists do share the costs of “sharrow” lanes and other transportation improvements. The $4 city tax on new bikes, the only one of its kind in the U.S., has raised nearly $2 million and leveraged hundreds of thousands more in matching funds over the past 20 years.
       US Department of Transportation studies show that 92 percent of funds for local roads, like those on the Westside, come from property, income and sales taxes. These taxes are paid by bicyclists, even those who don't also own cars.
       Though not currently a school user, I support schools, as well as fire departments, parks and other things that contribute to our community well-being. Non-cyclists also benefit from their two-wheeled neighbors. Bikes as transportation contribute to less traffic, clean air, and quiet streets. Bicycle paths, lanes and trails are part of the quality of life that draws people to the Westside as residents and tourists.
       I ride my bike more these days for work, errands, and fun. I've spent more in Westside businesses and paid local sales taxes. And while intangible, I'm certain that the quality of community is enhanced when I ride - it's easy to stop and chat with my neighbors or give directions to a visitor.
       Bicyclists already 'sharrow' the costs of these enhancements, and we all share the benefits.

Marielle Oetjen