Developer: I’ve Walked Away From Projects Because of Parking Minimums

Parking minimums forced Alan Bell to put a parking lot directly next to the playground in this East New York building. It sits almost completely unused.

Housing is harder to build, more expensive, and often lower-quality as a result of the city’s parking regulations, according to one New York City developer.

Alan Bell was a high-ranking housing official in the Koch administration before co-founding the Hudson Companies in 1986. Since then, Hudson has built 4,250 affordable and market-rate housing units in the New York metro area, along with another 2,000 units under development.

Hudson might have built more housing were it not for parking minimums, however. Bell said in an interview that he’s walked away from a number of projects because he couldn’t make the required parking fit or evade the parking minimums by subdividing the development into small pieces. “One comes to mind on Grand Street in East Williamsburg. You couldn’t get out with the waiver because you’re building too many units.”

Without the ability to claim an exemption from parking minimums, the economics of the development didn’t add up. “If you have a modest size building, it’s really prohibitive,” said Bell. In addition to the direct costs of building structured parking, which Bell said can range from $25,000 to $50,000 per space, making room for the parking can also reduce revenues. “If you’re up against other buildings on both sides, you’re going to have to reduce your perimeter retail frontage because you need an entrance for a garage.”

Other times, said Bell, he’s able to manipulate the structure of the development to ensure that he can avoid parking minimums. In East New York, he divided one project into four different five to six story buildings. “We just played around with the unit mixes so that we could get each of them under the waiver.” Had he not been trying to avoid the parking regulations, said Bell, “theoretically, we could have built more units.” (In practice, a different set of city regulations would have prevented that at this particular site, even without the parking requirements.)

Sometimes there’s no way to avoid the parking minimums. Another East New York project of Bell’s has 179 units, enough that parking would be required even if the building were subdivided into pieces. To comply with the law, Bell built 62 surface parking spaces. “I have five takers,” he said. The rest sit empty. “Now instead of a big green backyard around the play area, I have this macadam. You just say why?”

The developer at The Crest, on ##http://www.streetsblog.org/2008/02/06/new-york-can-do-better-than-the-new-fourth-avenue/##Brooklyn's Fourth Avenue##, decided it was worth sacrificing ground floor retail to make room for parking.

Bell identified Brooklyn’s Fourth Avenue as another design casualty of parking minimums, pointing to buildings like Boymelgreen Developers’ much-maligned Crest and Novo apartment buildings. The large buildings there were required to include parking, but subway lines under the street made putting it underground cost prohibitive. “[Boymelgreen] made the calculation that he’d rather sacrifice having retail on the ground floor in exchange for not putting the parking below ground, it was so expensive,” said Bell. The result is a series of buildings that are utterly indifferent to pedestrian life, presenting blank walls and parking to the sidewalk.

One solution Bell proposed is revising the zoning code so that parking minimums are eliminated in medium- or high-density districts near transit. Said Bell, “Historically, there’s no question, if I’m building near a subway stop, I’m going to attract a lot of people who don’t want a car or need a car. That’s proven in the marketplace.”

Although Hudson is a residential developer, Bell also urged the city to stop forcing so much parking into new retail centers like the East River Plaza, where 1,428 spaces sit empty. “It drives up the costs of the projects,” said Bell. “That comes out somewhere.” He placed the blame for these enormous parking lots directly at the feet of the public sector. “In the early days, it was the retailers asking for it. Now it’s the government.”

  • Driver

    I would like to know if the building pictured is fully occupied, and if those spots are free for residents or is there an additional charge to park there.

  • MR

    It appears to be Dumont Green. The Hudson website lists it as “under construction.”

  • MR

    It appears to be Dumont Green. The Hudson website lists it as “under construction.”

  • vnm

    How does the City try to justify parking minimums? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have parking maximums? Seriously, parking minimums just raise the cost of housing and create traffic congestion and air quality problems. Parking maximums would do the opposite on all fronts.

  • Eric McClure
  • Driver

    In that case, perhaps the statement “it sits almost completely unused” while it may be true, is not a fair statement to use in the argument against parking minimums if the building in question is also almost completely unused.

    Perhaps the issue to look into is why NYC HDC is subsidizing housing so people can afford to buy cars who otherwise wouldn’t be able to.

  • Driver

    said Bell, “theoretically, we could have built more units.”

    Translation: Why should we have to provide parking when we could increase the return on our development by forcing our residents to park on the street for free (a practice regularly criticized here on SB).

  • Andrew

    Except for those residents who happen to not own cars, and therefore have nothing to park, on or off the street.

    Developers will gladly provide enough parking to satisfy projected demand. Why should the city be forcing them to provide any more?

  • Andrew

    Except for those residents who happen to not own cars, and therefore have nothing to park, on or off the street.

    Developers will gladly provide enough parking to satisfy projected demand. Why should the city be forcing them to provide any more?

  • Andrew

    Except for those residents who happen to not own cars, and therefore have nothing to park, on or off the street.

    Developers will gladly provide enough parking to satisfy projected demand. Why should the city be forcing them to provide any more?

  • MR

    It seems odd that the livable streets movement would be throwing its lot in with Hudson. This is the developer that mostly demolished St. Ann’s right off of Union Square to build a horrible NYU dorm. Alan Bell himself is really just anti-regulation generally, speaking out against city mandates for disabled access and safety devices. Regulation is what’s *saving* New Yorkers from Alan Bell’s apparent free-market vision.

    For what it’s worth you can find aerial views of the project and the parking lot here:
    http://mhgarch.com.p6.hostingprod.com/Dumont.html

    The parking looks pretty human-scale and inoffensive.

    I get why Streetsblog might get excited about a developer aligned with its mission, but unless this mission is promoting Ron Paul-style government deregulation, y’all got spun.

  • carma

    there should be no govt mandates on parking. let the developer choose how to build. there is no one rule fits all. some places do need parking. some none. but the govt should butt out

  • carma

    the sad part is “some” folks in subsidized housing use their subsidies to buy cars, when they should save the money for i dont know, like healthy food??

  • Tom

    The 4th Avenue developments have water-table problems, and there was no incentive for retail.
    See Brownstoner.com after a downpour for the dire results. The subway entrances at Union St. have been heightened as a precaution..

  • Bolwerk

    A sane planning requirement would be a parking maximum well south of the minimum. Who the hell in their right mind moves to Grand Street (hell, either in Manhattan or Brooklyn) with the intention of owning a car?

  • ajedrez

    I would think that parking requirements can sort of regulate themselves. When a prospective tenant or buyer looks at any property, they will consider the availability of parking when considering whether to move in or not. They’ll ask “Is it worth the extra money to live in a building with parking”?

  • Andrew

    Agreed completely.

    The only reason anybody objects to that is the massive market distortion known as underpriced (usually free) public parking.

    Anybody who’s taken Econ 101 knows that the solution is to undo the distortion and price the public parking properly, not to pretend the market price is “free” and force the developer to act in what would be his best interest if that were the actual market price. (The only reason he has to be forced is that it ISN’T the actual market price.)

    This is one scenario in which free markets work as long as we give them a chance.

  • carma

    free market .. we dont need the city to force rules that apply to some places where parking is justified, but not all.

  • carma

    free market .. we dont need the city to force rules that apply to some places where parking is justified, but not all.

  • Guest

    Here in NYC, and in other big cities, parking mins aren’t econ 101, it’s a couple semesters further along. In econ terms high minimums are themselves a transaction cost aimed at reducing the overall transactions costs needed to get developments built. In other words, they are a political bribe aimed at appeasing the motoring class’s obsession with free curbside parking. Locally, this means reducing neighborhood level opposition to new projects. Citywide, the Bloomberg City Hall has clearly concluded that the political price of upzoning near transit is requiring lots and lots of new parking.

  • Foamy

    We do that in San Francisco where owning a car, although hard, is doable. It’s just the other side of the coin and just as problematic.

  • I totally do not get parking minimums. Whatever happened to free market principles?

    On the other side, if you wanted to use the government to make the city a more livable place, wouldn’t encouraging disincentivizing private car ownership in densely populated areas with excellent public transportation be better? Whot he hell needs their own car in downtown Brooklyn???

  • Bell

    Can I know what you are referring to when you say that I have spoken out against disabled access and safety devices?

  • MR

    Three-family housing ring a Bell?

  • This may be inconvenient; you could even make the argument that it’s very wasteful. But “ample parking” is the highest value we cherish as Americans. What price can we put on our most fundamental values? Might I remind everyone, the jury system is also expensive!

  • carma

    someone who lives in downtown brooklyn doesnt need a car. someone who lives on 72nd & broadway doesnt need a car. someone who lives in Bayside Queens needs a car.
    and the crucial reason of why. b/c downtown and manhattan has great transit. Bayside Queens does not.

  • @ carma

    I live in the middle of Brooklyn (in Flatbush) and I don’t need a car.

    Of course, I did make a conscious effort to live in an area that wasn’t rabidly anti-bike, and I do have a bike, but there’s no way I could afford to live in any of those places.

    Areas like Bayside need – I emphasize NEED – to get their act together and plan for a future where oil prices are constantly rising. Because we are *past* *peak* *oil*, and oil is only going to get more expensive from here on out. And as of right now there’s no alternative that doesn’t require a huge influx of oil itself, basically using more energy in it’s production than what it produces.

    But what are people doing? They’re screaming that bike lanes are taking away parking places, and making it hard for them to double park. This is not rational. This is crazy, and the future depends on us GETTING OUR ACT TOGETHER. Like, NOW.

  • … Are you joking? You’re joking, right?

  • carma

    suzanne, folks in bayside are not going to ride a bike, when most of the folks are commuters going to manhattan to work. some drive. some do take the LIRR which costs an arm and a leg just like driving. and some make that long terrible commute by the bus to the 7 train and get squished worse than the 4/5/6 combined during rush hour.
    and folks in bayside dont live there b/c they want to drive. its b/c theres some damn good schools in district 26

    in the turn of the century, nyc was supposed to extend a subway all the way out to bayside, but got chopped b/c of the depression and later on by robert moses.

    also, bensonhurst has plenty of mass transit. you have the d and the n. (if they actually run on the weekends that is). the b1 runs well too i believe.

  • Carma – I understand that the situation, as it stands, requries a car in many parts of the city. Certainly in most of the country. My point is that we need to move away from car dependency. It’s not a matter of what people would like, but of the way reality is shaping up to be.

  • carma

    a light rail or BRT does nothing for bayside. it is a waste of money even if we do have it. most of the residents commute to manhattan. what is a light rail really going to provide? all that would do is connect to the 7. but thats no different than the q13 right now along northern blvd.
    another subway would help tremendously but that requires HUGE investment.

    bayside is not a totally incapacitated community. i mean, yes, it still is walkable. bell blvd is quite vibrant. and it is walkable distance. but what bayside needs is not more bike lanes nor light rail, but a good connection to manhattan. THAT would reduce car usage in that community, and lets say any other community in all 5 boroughs.

  • So, you’re agreeing that if we built something like BRT or rail from Bayside into Manhattan – maybe with bike lanes feeding into stations where people could park their bikes, or even bring them onto the bus/train – that would give residents an attractive alternative to driving.

    Cool! 🙂

  • ajedrez

    But how does forcing developers to build based on parking minimums reduce neighborhood opposition? Most of the projects built by this particular developer are built in areas where many people don’t have cars (and the majority of them are in low-income neighborhoods, or neighborhoods that are undergoing gentrification)

    And if any developer wants to build a development in an area with good transit, where most of the people don’t own cars (say, something on the Upper West Side), chances are most of the people wouldn’t care if there was parking (or would actually support limiting parking if it meant that there was more green space in the development)

  • ajedrez

    @carma: There are probably some reverse commuters who truly need their cars to get to work, but you’re right: For the most part, there is no need for a car.

    @Suzanne: Actually, I think Bayside actually does have decent transit, and good potential to expand on it. It is possible (though not recommended) to live in the area without a car. You have the LIRR and some bus lines (like the Q12 and Q13) that run at decent frequencies. Maybe a good solution would be to try to lower the fares for the LIRR, to make it an attractive option for traveling. With the implementation of SmartCards, they can try to make a free transfer between the LIRR and subway (and possibly eliminate some conductor jobs while they’re at it, to save money to pay for whatever revenue is lost by the lower fare)

  • Driver

    “Areas like Bayside need – I emphasize NEED – to get their act together and plan for a future where oil prices are constantly rising”

    Suzanne, have you been to Bayside? It’s very different from Brooklyn in many ways. If the city tried to extend the 7 line to Bayside I assure you there would be community outrage by most. People did not move to Bayside because they want to be near the subway. As the price of oil rises, people will adapt with smaller cars and perhaps fewer unnecessary trips, but I can’t see the price of oil pushing people away from their cars anytime in the near future. What are hybrids getting, close to 50 mpg or so? If gas went up to $50 a gallon people would still be able to afford to drive locally in the right car. If gas went up to $20 per gallon and people switched from the SUV’s many drive now to hybrids, people would probably be saving money even with higher gas prices.
    There are many neighborhoods in this city where transit options make car ownership unnecessary, and some neighborhoods where car ownership is embraced and desirable. You are free to live where you like, but there is no need to force your idea of personal mobility on others who have completely different needs, desires, and motives.
    BTW, you don’t NEED a car to live in Bayside, it just make getting around MUCH more efficient and is a tremendous time saver, as with many other neighborhoods in the city.

  • Driver

    And last I checked, ENY is NOT DT Brooklyn.

  • @ Driver,

    I already just spent a half hour in another response to carma outlining why it doesn’t matter what people like or don’t like, want or dont’ want. It’s not a matter of me, or anyone else, forcing our preferences on anybody. It’s a matter of reality.

    Gas prices are high now. Maybe rise. Maybe they’ll go back down a little (but never as low as they were). Why? Because we’ve passed peak oil. Oil is only going to get more and more expensive as it gets harder and harder to get out of the ground, until it takes more energy to get it than we get from burning it. And there are no alternatives that don’t require more energy in than you get from them, making them worse than a wash.

    By around 2200 we’ll be out of oil. But things are going to get desperate long before then. Right now we’re merrily burning through our limited fossil fuel resoures, with absolutely no thought to the (very) near future. I’m sorry to say this, but what the hell does it matter what you or I or anyone else want or prefer? Isn’t it more important to use the remaining reserves wisely to prepare for a future in which we’re going to have to do without?

    Either we prepare now, while we still have the resources to do so, or we’re going to do it in a couple of decades when all we’re going to be able to do is watch the world crumble around us. Because we were too stupid to prepare.

  • I work at Fort Totten sometimes and I think Bayside is quite convenient on bicycle. Streets are wide, well paved, and not very crowded. If I lived there and worked in Manhattan I wouldn’t need a car; there’s the express bus, the LIRR, and the local-bus-no.-7 combination to get to work.

    Getting out to the Bronx, Westchester, or Nassau is a little more fraught.

    As for the possibility of motorists switching to more fuel-efficient cars, don’t forget that when you buy a new, more fuel-efficient car, you have to pay sales tax, which could easily add $2,000 to the cost of a moderately priced new vehicle. That money, plus the cost of new registration, could buy a lot of fuel. In addition, a really steep rise in gas prices will depreciate to zero the value of the 20mpg vehicles that motorists are currently driving. Good thing if they’re leasing; bad thing if they bought the car.

  • I work at Fort Totten sometimes and I think Bayside is quite convenient on bicycle. Streets are wide, well paved, and not very crowded. If I lived there and worked in Manhattan I wouldn’t need a car; there’s the express bus, the LIRR, and the local-bus-no.-7 combination to get to work.

    Getting out to the Bronx, Westchester, or Nassau is a little more fraught.

    As for the possibility of motorists switching to more fuel-efficient cars, don’t forget that when you buy a new, more fuel-efficient car, you have to pay sales tax, which could easily add $2,000 to the cost of a moderately priced new vehicle. That money, plus the cost of new registration, could buy a lot of fuel. In addition, a really steep rise in gas prices will depreciate to zero the value of the 20mpg vehicles that motorists are currently driving. Good thing if they’re leasing; bad thing if they bought the car.

  • Driver

    Jonathan, people are spending this kind of money already on cars. Look how many people are driving $25 and 30k SUV’s and cars and plenty of people driving luxury cars upwards of $50k, especially in Bayside. And some of these people pay to commute to Manhattan by transit on top of that. This is not a culture that will be steered away from driving by even a large upswing in the price of gas.

  • Driver

    Human nature says we will cross that bridge when we come to it. Plus there’s always the prospect of new technologies emerging that will make the diminishing of oil moot.

  • carma

    Suzanne, i am not doubting there is an effect called peak oil. in fact, all sources are finite in some sense. and i dont doubt there is some form of climate change. the point is that by introducing something like a gas tax does a LOT more harm than good. i can agree that if that tax REALLY 100% when to its use of public transit, then i may agree to some extent. but unless you FIRMLY belief that everything the govt does is for your own good, then you should accept the fact that the extra revenue from the gas tax would not solely go to mass transit.

    Plus what you are advocating STILL requires the use of gas. BRT still requires diesel fuel. and as i mentioned, some of the residents who commute from bayside to manhattan already use public transit. while i am certain some do drive. at the same point a portion also do make that horrible trek to take the Q12/13 bus and the 7 train. and a % do ttake the LIRR which costs quite a bit. in fact, it is a 2 fare zone.

    Look, people are not stupid for driving. it really is their choice. i mean if you are so concerned with running out of oil, then we also need to wean off of computers, ipods, all plastic bottles, and basically everything in modern life and live like the amish.

    i do agree that a direct line would help transit significantly to the underserved in bayside. but a BRT is NOT the way to go. BRT will create so much congestion on northern blvd, plus it is not as BRT is immune to traffic. it has a ROW, but there is still intersections that can have cars blocking the box, etc…
    light rail is a better option but for the same reasons, it is not practical. both solutions require lots of money.

    i do agree with driver’s suggestion of supplementing the LIRR service. it definitely is not at 100% capacity, and a lower fare would encourage more users to use it. (plus it may actually bring in more revenue)

    and as Driver mentioned, bayside doesnt require you to have a car. but it certainly makes things a LOT more convenient.

  • carma

    jonathan, as i mentioned ppl already take the local bus to #7. and its miserable. the 7 is at capacity already. have you seen the horrible conditions of the steinway tunnel? it causes constant delays and signal problems. and unfortunately, far out residents still have this subpar level of service. the LIRR is a great option if you can afford it.
    driving is nice too, if you can afford it.

    btw, you dont need to buy a new car to be more fuel efficient. a 1997 honda civic hx 5 speed manual transmission gets 40mpg on regular gas and costs a mere $2000.

  • Driver

    That was ajedrez who suggested supplementing LIRR service.

  • “Human nature says we will cross that bridge when we come to it.”

    Human nature doesn’t have poop-all to do with it. Is that how you or most people you know live your lives? No, probably you plan for the future, the future you think will happen. The reason most of us don’t do anything but buy more SUV’s and agitate for more free parking is because most people *don’t* know about peak oil and/or don’t really believe it. Take a look at the media and count how many times you see or hear a car commercial. Now how many mentions do you hear about peak oil?

    If there was even 1/10th as much attention devoted to preparing for peak oil as there was for fighting the so-called “war on terror” you’d better believe a hell of a lot more people would be doing something about it. But it’s not profitable, so that’s not the case (actually, it’s a little more complicated than this but I don’t have the time to get into it all here.)

    “Plus there’s always the prospect of new technologies emerging that will make the diminishing of oil moot.”

    You really think that’s the best way to approach a problem? Cross your fingers and hope everything will turn out okay? Or do you think we should look at the problem as clearly and rationally as possible and plan for the future based on facts, not hopes?

    “what you are advocating STILL requires the use of gas.”

    55% of the oil produced goes to powering private vehicles. I don’t know the exact numbers but if as a society we made the massive changes necessary to reduce that as much as possible our remaining reserves would go a LOT further (assuming of course we could stop population growth, otherwise the extra 2.5 billion people projected over the next few decades will completely wipe out any gains.) It might even give us enough time to find an alternative energy source that would give a net positive energy return.

    But one thing’s for certain: even if we do (and I certainly hope we do as I for one do not want to return to an age when women were kept barefoot and pregnant) it is highly unlikely that we are ever going to find a cheap and easy source as the 65,000,000 years of solar energy we found trapped in fossil fuels, so we’re going to have to learn to be frugal in any case.

    “if you are so concerned with running out of oil, then we also need to wean off of computers, ipods, all plastic bottles”

    That’s not a bad idea. And unfortunately that’s probably going to be the case, especially if we keep on keeping on as we currently are, like ostriches with our heads up our collective asses. Unless we do something our grandkids probably won’t even know what a computer is (if they even know how to read.) Personally, I’m hoping that we avert that possible future. That’s why I’m taking the time to write and write and write (and act and act and act as well – this isn’t all I do).

    My point is that we need to do something now. We need to stop squandering what’s basically a big, fat lottery ticket that’s going to run out soon and try to figure out how to transition to a world without it, but still keep the level of culture and civilization.

    I’m optimistic that we can, but we have to get started now. Like I said before, you don’t have to take my world for it. Do a google search. If you have Netflix, there are a ton of great documentaries you can stream (Collapse, The End of Suburbia, Blind Spot, A Crude Awakening.) Look at the information and ask yourself what action YOU think is commensurate with the situation we’ve put ourselves in.

  • carma

    Suzanne, you are right. we will have to do something about the eventual problem of what happens when we run out of oil. and it IS in the best interest as a nation and society to plan for the future. but to punish the current situation by introducing a gas tax at the current time is adding fuel (a little pun there) to a uncontrollable fire. you will create more problems such as very high inflation, re-recession, joblessness, poverty. do you think that is better alternative? i think not.
    i think ppl are aware that oil is finite. but as driver mentioned, you do have to have faith in humanity to invent a new alternative. i mean hybrid cars are a great start. fuel efficient cars are another good push.

    heres another thought you probably dont think about. why are cars getting so much bigger and so much more expensive. b/c the govt puts too many mandates on vehicle makers to put in safety devices. the average toyota camry in 1988 weighed in at a featherweight 2700 lbs. it got 29 mpg on the highway w/ a paltry 115hp. the average 2011 camry weighs 3300 lbs. it gets 32 mpg w/ now 160hp. how is it that we can get such great gains in hp, but make so little gains in mpg? b/c the cars keeps on getting heavier and heavier thanks to all the govt regulations. yes, the cars are MUCH safer, pollute less, but there comes a point where not every car needs 10 airbags, stability control, and 50 million crumple zones. we cant put a regulation on everything. if you want great gas mileage, you start w/ a lightweight car. then you add the technology that saves fuel.

    SUV’s are way too thirsty. they are great for offroading, but how many city folks NEED an SUV?? minivans may not be cool, but at least they can still get 26mpg on the highway. and all of them fit 7 passengers. heh, even im not suckered into the SUV thing. i own a minivan.

    Heres what you say:
    “55% of the oil produced goes to powering private vehicles. ” You have this partially correct only. You left out a lot of details. Depending on where you source, the number varies from 40-58% of CRUDE OIL is used to produce gasoline. Did you also account for the fact that of that only less than 40% is used to power passenger cars for commute AND leisure. in fact, most of the gasoline is used for other methods of transport. example such as buses and vans. So where else does that Crude Oil go to. well another approximate 25 % goes to power diesel machines including buses, garbage trucks, heavy machinery and such.

    also, a loaded bus is the only time it is more efficient than a car. if more folks carpooled, your efficiency goes up tremendously. a bus gets 3.5 mpg on diesel. even an SUV can get 16mpg in the city. you also cant neglect that many bus routes run nearly empty on the return route. im not saying we dont need buses, but what you are advocating for is NOT the best solution. i can agree more with LRT or definitely Heavy Rail transit.

    im also optimistic that we will find other solutions to oil. in fact, we MUST find other solutions to oil, but to say that we must Tax Now so we can fund other alternatives is nothing short but socialized medicine.

    you think of the future being a grim place, but what about burdening our future generation with loads of debt that nobody can pay back.

    we all want a better way to transport ourselves. noone denies the population will increase and oil is finite. but to me taxing oil is not the key. if you want to wean off oil this is what you can start with

    carpooling. decreased car usage. combined errands. look at google maps for traffic conditions so you can avoid problems that make you idle in traffic. encourage telecommuting. bicycling. use more mass transit.

    trust me. what i mentioned has a FAR better effect on the overall price of gasoline than taxes.

  • Umm Carma? You can’t argue against both raising taxes and increasing the debt in the same post. The advantage to raising taxes now as opposed to waiting for the price to rise with our hands in our pockets is threefold (h/t Friedman):

    1. Higher gas prices make more energy-efficient vehicles and uses more economical, which is a way of supporting them through the market.

    2. Higher gas prices reduce demand for oil, which helps us avoid foreign oil wars (I’ve been to an oil war, and I don’t particularly want to go again).

    3. The tax revenue raised from higher fuel taxes can be applied to specific projects, like building more railroads, or fixing bridges, or fusion research. The eventual higher costs result in no extra government revenue.

  • Carpooling? Yeah, that’s worked so well in the past.

  • carma

    Jonathan,
    Let me explain why raising gas taxes specifically DOES fuel on adding to the debt.
    Gas, unfortunately is so ingrained into our society, that we are addicted to this product. By raising gas prices, you raise the prices of ALL goods and services. Inflation leads to less amount of goods/services you can buy. Eventually that leads to less companies offering those goods/services. In turn, that means LESS jobs. Less Jobs = Less INCOME taxes.

    Less Income taxes = Smaller Budget.
    Now that would be all fine and dandy if we also spent less as a nation. That is not the case. Look at our current defecit. We are 1.6 TRILLION over.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_United_States_federal_budget

    How much do we already OWE CHINA in terms of added debt.

    Im sure you and Suzanne are at the thinking that Driving is an Evil thing. It is not. It is simply a means of transportation, and even if all folks drove less and took public transit eg. buses, streetcars. guess what. they are still using some form of Crude Oil.

    I will agree, that if we really did use the taxes collected for proper use, then i can be in favor of swallowing this bitter pill.
    But let me point out how the govt really operates.

    Social Security consists of 20% of our budget. How come we are only collecting 12% to fund this?
    Medicare/Medicaid consists of another 20% of our budget. How come we are only collecting 5% to fund this?
    This means we are either taking money from other sources or we are amassing even further record debts.
    While i cant source a figure for lottery revenue. I can assure you that the intended use for funding education is flawed. It is a poor persons tax in disguise. Look at who really buys the lottery. Not the rich.

    You say:
    “The eventual higher costs result in no extra government revenue.” a recession also results in less govt revenue.

    I want you to name 1 politician who ever got elected on the basis for higher taxes.
    Last time i checked. George bush sr. was ousted. Corzine was ousted for property taxes.

    I would also like for us to wean off of crude for transportation, but to instill taxes to do so is just a deadly thought. The auto industry needs to produce even more efficient cars. This is something the govt CAN impose. i appreciate our attempts at getting the average fleet to 35mpg. we need more than that. That is going to have to come in terms of lighter cars/smaller cars.
    im not in favor of reinstalling a national speed limit as all cars have a different level of fuel efficiency based on overall dynamics of the car. some cars are more efficient at 62mph, some as low as 41mph. (think gear ratios, overdrives, drag efficiencies)
    but in general, yes, slower speeds are a start. going 80mph is not fuel efficient.

    better public transit is another start. make public transit attractive. LOWER fares, not increase it. what better than to actually have our state fund the MTA rather than to rape it. More riders, better service. Unfortunately that will result in cutting other services, but transit is IMPORTANT.

    carpooling. think hov lanes and reduced traffic

    bicycling. this is a no brainer

  • carma

    capn, i here the naysayers of carpooling. but i think part of the reason it is unattractive is the fact that we live so much farther away from our jobs and we all dont work at the same place.

    but at the same time, we dont promote it enough. how about financial incentives to promote. it is not well advertised that the nj crossings are only $2.00 versus $8.00

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