Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Transit policy is screwing me over (V)

TNR's The Avenue blog has a great post on the gas tax as deficit reduction. The upshot is that since the transportation fund is constantly getting bailed out by the general fund, a higher gas tax will move us back to where user fees are paying for transportation. They even link to a very awesome chart(warning, PDF) showing those bailouts.

Sarah Goodyear also has a nice post up at Grist making the same point. (Incidentally, it draws on a study by my old employer USPIRG. Good job, guys!) For the umpteenth time, drivers do not pay their own way. In fact, something like $600bn in general funds have been used to fund road construction since the 1950s.

I know this is getting quite repetitive, but it's a point that doesn't seem to get made often enough outside the tiny circle of urban development enthusiasts: car-based development receives subsidies through many different avenues, while transit is constantly admonished to pay its own way. That needs to change. Because my commute to work could really use dedicated right-of-way improved transit is a big part of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preventing the planet from cooking.

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