Mass Transit Doesn’t Need one Penny of Subsidy
|December 16, 2013||Posted by Staff under Editorials|
This 2013 excerpt of The Star, Dec 14, is by Frank de Jong, president, Earthsharing Canada, Toronto.
Relying primarily on gas taxes to fund mass transit, as suggested by the Anne Golden transit panel, is a socially divisive idea, pitting suburban and rural residents who rarely use transit against urban dwellers who generally drive shorter distances if at all. The war on the car will only get worse.
Transit and other infrastructure should be financed by those who benefit financially from it, not by those who live far away. Land value capture, which collects the rise in local land values that the new transit generates, could finance the infrastructure.
People bid up the price of land around new transit, hospitals, and schools because of the advantages of living and working near them. A rise in land values that was created by the government-funded infrastructure should therefore go back to government to pay for the project and not be a windfall profit to those who happen to own nearby land.
Ed. Notes: The best transit system in the world — Hong Kong’s — uses leases to recover the value of the land that arose around its stops and stations. All truly desired projects could be self-financing, concluded big-name economists William Vickrey and Joseph Stiglitz. What are we waiting for?