Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

The Granddaddy of Sprawl Subsidies, Illustrated

false

Despite the ruinous housing crisis just a few years ago, the federal government still keeps the suburban sprawl machine humming.

About 85 percent of federal subsidies for housing flow to single family homes, according to a recent report from Smart Growth America, though only about 65 percent of Americans are homeowners and the majority of renters live in multi-family housing. The ultimate sprawl subsidy just might be the mortgage interest deduction. Not only is this baby completely regressive -- the vast majority of subsidies flow to households with incomes greater than $200,000 -- as you can see in the above map, this money tends to flow to areas where everyone is dependent on a car.

Network blog West North writes:

See those donut holes? Inner-city areas with low rates of homeownership, low incomes (and thus fewer residents who itemize deductions), and relatively lower property values are receiving far less of America’s fattest housing subsidy — the mortgage-interest personal income tax deduction (see previous discussion) — than their better-off suburbs. The sprawl subsidies continue apace.

The bigger picture is that this is a subsidy that overwhelmingly benefits wealthy people who have expensive houses, and big mortgages to match — and thus benefits “coastal elites” more.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Human Transit reports that Google Maps is planning some big improvements to its transit directions feature. Mobilizing the Region reports that New Jersey is the newest state to consider reducing speed limits to 20 miles per hour in residential areas. And Better Institutions comments on a unorthodox new plan to shore up the federal infrastructure bank.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Survey: Most Drivers Want Their Cars To Alert Them When They Hit Deadly Speeds

Turns out, not everyone thinks driving 100 miles an hour anywhere they wish is an inalienable American freedom.

June 12, 2024

Why Traffic Engineers Learn Almost Nothing About Traffic Safety In School

Shocking as it may seem, civil engineering programs do not need to offer any transportation-specific courses. Here's why that's bad news.

June 12, 2024

Calif. Cities Block Off Streets for Rich Neighborhoods, Not for Bike/Walk Safety

Cities know street closures work to divert and calm car traffic, they shouldn't be shy about using diverters/closures for prioritizing the safety and convenience of people getting around on foot and on bike.

June 11, 2024

‘Talking Headways’ Special: Let’s Understand This Congestion Pricing Debacle

Why did New York Gov. Kathy Hochul kill the first-in-the-nation toll? We talk to a New York-based transit expert to see what is going on?

June 11, 2024
See all posts