The Galway Cycling Campaign has reacted negatively to the Parking Levy proposals in the Finance Bill 2008 as farcical, self-defeating and grossly unfair and they are calling on all local TDs to reject the Bill. The cyclists say that, according to their reading of the Finance Bill, if you use your car for more than ten days a year you are liable to pay the full EU200 fee. Shane Foran speaking on behalf of the campaign explained, what this seems to mean is that even if only once a month you happen bring your car to collect the kids, do the shopping or whatever you are liable for the full EU200 levy. According to the cycle campaigners, the only other way out is to submit a declaration that you will not use the car parking space at all.
In our view this measure provides an incentive for increasing the use of private cars and increased congestion. If you have been forced to pay for something then the natural human reaction is to use what you have paid for to the fullest extent. The levy is seen as a slap in the face for car-owners who try to make a difference and walk, cycle or use public transport when possible. The cyclists say that forcing people to pay for a facility regardless of their reasonable efforts to use alternatives serves no purpose other than filling the coffers of the Minister for Finance.
The cyclists also question the value of the proposed tax relief scheme for new bicycles. While tax relief is welcome in theory, to our knowledge access to bicycles is not an obstacle to increasing the number of cycle commuters so we dont see how this is going to get more people cycling anyway said campaign spokesperson Shane Foran in any case for an intermittent cyclist/motorist on the 20% tax rate who buys an EU500 bike, the government will take EU1,000 over 5 years via the parking levy, versus EU100 saved on the bike.