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We say bring on the bi­cy­cle tax, and while you’re at it, a sales (or better yet gas) tax for roads and bridges.»

Tax­ing bi­cy­cles might seem like a crazy idea, pitched by an an­gry ru­ral Repub­li­can look­ing to in­flict pain on ur­ban car-less hip­sters who avoid beau­coup spe­cific own­er­ship and reg­is­tra­tion taxes by re­ly­ing on their “fix­ies,” or fixed-gear bikes.

But be­fore we all scoff at Sen. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junc­tion, let’s take a mo­ment to con­sider what he’s propos­ing: a ded­i­cated fund to help pay for much-needed bike lane in­fra­struc­ture that makes rid­ing safer and more fea­si­ble.

Colorado Springs im­ple­mented a small bike tax al­most 30 years ago. Lo­cal elected of­fi­cials ap­proved the $4 per adult bi­cy­cle ex­cise tax be­fore voter ap­proval was needed un­der the Tax­payer’s Bill of Rights. That led for­mer Gazette colum­nist Barry Noreen to call it “the last great tax” in a 2008 col­umn cel­e­brat­ing the $2 mil­lion it raised in 20 years.

And it has been a great thing for the city, help­ing a con­ser­va­tive en­clave lever­age lo­cal dol­lars for fed­eral grants to build bike lanes in a city known to house elite cy­clists train­ing at el­e­va­tion.

What could a sim­i­lar tax — call it a $15 statewide tax on adult bi­cy­cles at the point of sale, like the one Ore­gon just im­ple­mented — do for bi­cy­cle in­fra­struc­ture? Quite a bit, and it would be in­fra­struc­ture that crosses ju­ris­dic­tions, rather than those that roll through neigh­bor­hoods. Ex­pand­ing a high­way to Boul­der? Put in a pro­tected bike lane that com­muters can use to get safely to a city that is en­tirely too ex­pen­sive to live in.

Such a tax could have com­ple­mented law­mak­ers’ pro­posal in 2017 to is­sue a statewide sales tax to fund roads, bridges and, yes, bike lanes and tran­sit projects. Repub­li­cans, in­clud­ing Scott, balked at the fact that so much of the rev­enue from that pro­posed sales tax went to bike lanes and tran­sit. Iso­lat­ing some of that fund­ing in a separate tax ask might have helped Repub­li­cans like Scott get on board with sup­port­ing needed fund­ing for our roads — since ob­vi­ously the hangup wasn’t the ques­tion of taxes in gen­eral.

But one thing is cer­tain: Scott’s as­ser­tion that bi­cy­clists should pay the same as driv­ers be­cause they use the same roads is off base. Cars and trucks put much greater wear and tear on roads.

“Snow­mo­biles don’t hurt the snow, ATV’s don’t hurt the dirt, boats don’t hurt the wa­ter and they pay a tax, maybe we should elim­i­nate those taxes,” The Gazette quoted Scott writ­ing in a Face­book re­sponse to some­one who raised that ar­gu­ment.

Scott must have never rid­den an ATV, snow­mo­bile or dirt­bike, be­cause those ma­chines, while fun and ex­tremely use­ful toys and tools, tear the holy heck out of a trail, dirt road or field. And gaspow­ered boats pol­lute the wa­ter, there’s just no way around it.

It’s nice that a Repub­li­can who op­posed both ef­forts last ses­sion to raise money for trans­porta­tion is fi­nally will­ing to ac­knowl­edge that the state needs ad­di­tional rev­enue for its in­fra­struc­ture, in­clud­ing bike lanes.

If Scott thought his Face­book post about the tax was a clever way to stick it to span­dex-wear­ing lib­er­als by im­ply­ing they aren’t will­ing to pay for what they want and use, he sorely mis­cal­cu­lated.

We say bring on the bi­cy­cle tax, and while you’re at it, a sales (or better yet gas) tax for roads and bridges, too.

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