Sunday, April 18, 2010

What Gets Subsidized?

I’m always a bit amazed when I hear people complain that car transportation is subsidized. I always wonder what alternative is less subsidized? Riding a bike or walking is nearly 100% subsidized. Taking a public bus, subway or light train is subsidized around 75%. Today’s car transportation subsidy is mainly caused by inaction on the part of Congress to adjust gas taxes at the same rate CAFE fuel efficiency requirements are increase.

So if you don’t want car transportation subsidized then call your Congressperson and ask them to increase the gas tax to meet current obligations. You may want to also ask them to stop robbing the Highway Account to fund the Mass Transit Account. In the Fiscal Year to day $269,862,066 has been transferred. That’s a –22% decrease from the prior year. Its a bit ironic that gas taxes are used to subsidize mass transit while at the same time the car is getting a bad wrap for being subsidized.

I guess we should also question if the original premise is correct. Are cars subsidized? If we look closer a small portion of car transportation is subsidized. Roads within a subdivision, and sometimes offsite, are built by the developer. Bridge replacement projects are mainly funded through gas taxes, 80% Federal match, and the local funds are often subsidized by STIP funds.

So how about we start appreciating the car as an efficient mode of travel instead of advocating other forms of transportation that are more heavily subsidized then cars.

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