Talking Headways Podcast: Subsidizing Congestion With Commuter Tax Benefits

This week we’re joined by Tony Dutzik of the Frontier Group and Steven Higashide of TransitCenter to discuss their new report, “Who Pays for Parking?” The report is an incisive critique of federal commuter tax benefits — specifically the parking benefit, a $7.3 billion annual subsidy that mainly adds incentive for high earners to drive to work in the most congested cities at the most congested times of day.

We discuss the origins of these parking tax subsidies, who benefits from them, and which cities are taking a different approach to parking incentives.

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

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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 […]

Congress Expected to Level Tax Benefit for Transit and Car Commuters

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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 […]

Congress Gives Itself More Free Parking Than Its Own Rules Allow

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As TransitCenter and the Frontier Group reported last week, the federal government pays a huge $7.3 billion subsidy to people who drive to work by making commuter parking expenses tax exempt. There are countless reasons for Congress to scrap this poorly-conceived, congestion-inducing subsidy. While policymakers consider the big picture, they also ought to examine how […]

It’s Time to Stop Pretending That Roads Pay for Themselves

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If nothing else, the current round of federal transportation legislating should end the myth that highways are a uniquely self-sufficient form of infrastructure paid for by “user fees,” a.k.a. gas taxes and tolls. With all the general tax revenue that goes toward roads in America, car infrastructure has benefited from hefty subsidies for many years. […]