Friday, May 24, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Monday, July 16, 2012
Mass Transit Subsidized More Heavily than Highways
By NCPA @ 3:19 PM :: 4487 Views :: National News, Ethics

Mass Transit Subsidized More Heavily than Cars

Advocates of mass transit like to point out that it isn't the only form of transportation that gets public subsidies. In particular, road construction and maintenance have benefited from increased taxpayer subsidies over the last decade and a half that, in absolute terms, are much larger than government support for public mass transit, says Josh Barro in City Journal.
However, while it's true that the government subsidizes all modes of transportation, road subsidies remain a small component of public and private spending on auto travel. A fair look at the whole picture shows that government subsidizes mass transit much more heavily than it subsidizes driving and that transit's problems go far beyond subsidies for cars.
The state of Wisconsin offers a fair microcosm in which to understand this comparison.
The mass-transit backers say, correctly, that the federal gasoline tax hasn't been increased since 1993; since then, inflation has reduced its real value by about one-third.
Thus, a greater proportion of support for roadways and car travel is paid for through general revenues; that is, subsidies.
1,000 Friends of Wisconsin, a smart-growth mass-transit backing advocacy group, notes that "between 41 and 55 percent of [Wisconsin's] road money comes from non-users."
The subsequent line of reasoning, then, might be that this figure is comparable to the 65 percent of the budget of the Milwaukee County Transit System that was covered by subsidies in 2010.
Similarly, Madison's public-transit system got a whopping 74 percent of its budget from subsidies that year.
This comparison, however, is grossly unfair, as it fails to view government support as a fraction of the total cost of automobile transportation. When this is included, the prevalence of government road subsidies is greatly diminished.
In 2008, Americans spent $500 billion on motor fuel (not counting the excise tax) and $173 billion on new cars (not counting taxes and fees).
Also, according to figures derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey, American households spent $223 billion on vehicle maintenance, repairs and insurance.
As for highway construction and maintenance, governments at all levels spent $181 billion on them, of which only $83 billion came from general revenues.
This subsidy level is approximately 8 percent, which is far less than the level of government support that is received by mass transit systems nationwide.
Source: Josh Barro, "Autonomy," City Journal, Spring 2012.

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii