New Report: Feds Subsidizing Parking Six Times as Much as Transit

tax_expenditure_employee_transportation_benefits.png(Image: Subsidyscope)

"Subsidy" is a word used quite often in transportation policy-making circles, whether by road acolytes who claim (falsely) that highways are not federally subsidized because of the gas tax or by transit boosters who lament Washington’s unceasing focus on paying for more local asphalt.

But the subsidy debate often overlooks the government tax exemption for workers’ parking expenses. And federal parking subsidies are skyrocketing, as Subsidyscope revealed yesterday in its data-packed report on U.S. transport spending: the value of tax-free parking will reach $3 billion this year, compared with $500 million in subsidies for transit use.

The imbalance might be corrected if the government had always treated parking and transit equally when it came to tax benefits. Until Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) added a provision to this year’s economic stimulus law that set a monthly maximum of $230 for both transit and parking benefits, workers could write off a maximum of slightly more than $200 in parking, while the maximum tax-free value of transit passes was about $100 less.

Subsidyscope, a joint project of the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Sunlight Foundation , pored over federal records to produce a searchable database of transportation spending dating back to the year 2000. Their researchers’ conclusions found that highways received $30 billion in federal support last year — more than three times as much as transit, which got $9 billion.

How much of that $30 billion was a subsidy? It’s tough to say, according to Subsidyscope, since state DOTs are not required to report the details of how federal road aid is distributed. Still, the overwhelming majority of federal transport programs contain subsidies (see the chart after the jump for more details).

A more classic example of federal subsidy is programs that transfer the risk of new projects onto the federal government. The Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), which offers loans to states and localities at a low interest rate, is the transport sector’s major source of credit subsidies from Washington — and the majority of TIFIA loans go to highway projects.

(ed. note. This post was updated from an earlier version that neglected to note Schumer’s addition to the economic stimulus law.)

faads_subs_total.png(Image: Subsidyscope)

  • John Thacker

    “”Subsidy” is a word used quite often in transportation policy-making circles, whether by road acolytes who claim (falsely) that highways are not federally subsidized”

    Your link there doesn’t prove what it says. I agree that the gas tax is not a pure user fee, and that VMT fee would be better. I agree that a VMT fee would decrease congestion. I agree that using the gas tax may mean that some drivers unfairly subsidize other drivers. But that has nothing to do with whether it’s “subsidized” by the federal government or by non-drivers overall. Look at USDOT’s Highway Statistics series. From table HF-10 you can see how transportation receipts and spending work in a normal year, 2007. The Federal Government collected at least $33.2 billion in gas taxes, and used $33.2 billion for highway purposes.

    Any federal “subsidy” of highways is from some drivers to other drivers. You can argue that driving has negative externalities, which is a different issue. It’s also true that state and especially local governments subsidize drivers through taxes on non-drivers.

    But the fact is, the federal government collects considerably more in gas taxes than it spends on roads. That is indisputable. Any claim otherwise is false. And mass transit is not funded at the federal level from user fees.

    Their researchers’ conclusions found that highways received $30 billion in federal support last year — more than three times as much as transit, which got $9 billion. How much of that $30 billion was a subsidy?

    Only a little bit. I checked out SubsidyScope. It’s including the direct spending and earmark-directed transfers to state DOTs from the normal transportation bill, SAFTEA-LU. Take a look at the Highway Statistics table I linked. Note that total federal highway expenditures (and gas tax receipts) are in the nature of $30 billion, the same as that $30 billion.

    ALL of that $30 billion is the normal transportation bill funding. Some of it is wasteful earmarks, but that’s not the same thing as a subsidy from non-drivers to drivers.

    Sure, the parking thing is absolutely valid. But comparing the total money spent is a little silly; why not per-user of the system?

  • LYP

    LYP-I appreciate for your kind and generous sharing.Shop online at christian louboutin mall for a great selection of christian louboutin boots, christian wedding shoes,christian louboutin ankle boots and sandals for girls,women and men with free shopping on all orders.Welcome to luxury christian louboutin sale online store.The best christian louboutin at best price, free delivery,easy returns & exchanges,100% quality guarantee!Save 82% Off.Cheap christian louboutin daffodile makes a woman’s feet dazzle and shine even after the twelve strikes of midnight.Own a pair of stylish and wonderful christian louboutin is women’s lifetime pursuit. We offer christian louboutin red bottom shoes online shopping by an elegant but easy way. Shopping online at discount price for red sole signature designer.
    Order  products in christian louboutin sale store are free shipping.If you want to be more remarkable,do not miss christian louboutin daffodil. They are sexy and gorgeous christian louboutin.Welcome old and new customers,we will offer you the best service.All shoes has been worked by good craftsman and christian louboutin men for men by hand and this is the result of a careful selection.If you   are engaged in the vogue or you want keep the same pace with the trend,christian louboutin could be your best choice.It is really nice of you to share the excellent shoes information to others. christian louboutin shoes is absolutely representative of fashion and recreation,became a matter of course the popular protagonist of the season.christian louboutin outlet will try our best to satisfy you christian louboutin wedges.
    christian louboutin sale is french hot brand in the world,We provide different kinds of christian louboutin usa.Choose the   woman wearing louboutin slingback,often has realised that many men somehow to high-heeled shoes have deep interest,wear cheap christian louboutin sales shoes can easily outright conquest many men,can easily get many men worship,can easily make many men excited.In fashionable arena occupies a place   of christian louboutin ankle boot forever and always makes women fascination.christian louboutin outlet
     foot that one wipe enthusiastic red,no matter how plain clothes,they   were unable to hide the hostess as fire the lively personality.christian louboutin sandals is fashionable and beautiful, recently new appearance of new women’s   sandals,presenting an one colour profusion,design and material   collocation also ingenuity, pretty,both restoring ancient ways,full of female lasting appeal,sweet call a person fondle admiringly
    christian louboutin shoes sole design very clever,”catch” the selling point of sight let woman enchanted,sexy very narcissistic is frowsty coquettish,imagine a man to follow his sole after the line of sight of red,women must have is willing to pay. The identification of the “red sole degree is high,it’s another benefit is let female stars free advertising.christian louboutin sale shoes as a woman’s external wearing choice embodies her connotation,her taste,her pursuit of her life,understanding.christian louboutin sandals is a woman’s life cannot resist temptation of summer follow sandal high is undoubtedly the most powerful-naked fiber foot,Dan red nutmeg, summer air fragrance in stimulating fashion masters of inspiration,the perfect cheap christian louboutin daffodile,in people the envy of look in the eyes supports a pieces of living color.Delicate the luxury of girl for oneself of each clothes to acquire a   pair of high heels to match,but always than a double take christian louboutin 2012 to reality.
    Whether you are what kind of woman need to wear a pair of christian louboutin shoes on the red carpet,your choice,we are unable to intervene,but you should know that Mr.Bhutto’s name.christian louboutin outlet today has five stores in the United States,two in New York the rest of South Beach Plaza in Los Angeles,Las Vegas and Orange state,some christian louboutin sale stores are planning to open in the Bal harbour,Boston and Chicago.The famous U.S. talk show host Oprah Winfrey,christian louboutin sandals is an art,recent and famous director David Lynch co-operation,his collection of shoes do one called "Idol"exhibition.R &B singer Ciara,Jay-Z’s song with the lyrics of christian louboutin canada content.
    Red soled christian louboutin shoes‘s signature logo,highlighting women’s lovely,beautiful,quieter and mature sexy christian louboutin sale store favorite with a variety of bright colors,especially open-toed style won him favor with the soleNama red flag,the performance of a woman with high heels the sexiest,swaying side.No wonder so many stars are even willing to free to speak for him,showed off alone belong to the christian louboutin outlet‘s style on the red carpet.Frenchman christian louboutin sales world is absolutely impossible to ignore.It is a favorite of European and American actress!”Red shoes” to identify high,another advantage is that the female stars free advertising.See the red soles of christian louboutin uk,the fundamental need to find the logo.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

The Parking Tax Benefit: A $7.3 Billion Subsidy for Traffic Congestion

|
The federal government spends billions of dollars a year on tax subsidies that make traffic congestion worse, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis by TransitCenter and the Frontier Group. The culprit is the parking commuter tax benefit, which costs taxpayers $7.3 billion in foregone revenue each year, all while adding more than 800,000 cars to rush-hour […]

The Federal Government Wants to Bribe You to Drive to Work

|
Did you need another reason to be disappointed in the federal government? Well today’s your lucky day! Remember when we talked about how subsidies should only be used to encourage behaviors beneficial to society. Well, Washington didn’t get the message. Congress is about to let a tax break for transit riders expire while allowing an […]

A Bigger Transit Benefit Is No Match for America’s Parking Tax Perk

|
Late last year Congress finally moved to boost the maximum commuter tax benefit for transit riders to the same level that car commuters receive. That means transit riders can buy up to $255 in fares each month with pre-tax income, just like drivers can pay for $255 in parking expenses with pre-tax income. Great news, right? Well, it’s definitely a step in […]

Congress Expected to Level Tax Benefit for Transit and Car Commuters

|
A federal policy that has encouraged Americans to drive to work instead of taking the bus or the train won’t tilt the playing field toward car commuters so much. A bill that extends provisions of the tax code will permanently set the maximum transit commuter tax benefit at the same level car commuters get for parking expenses. Both classes of commuters can now […]