Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Studies & Reports

Highway Funding: The Last Bastion of Socialism in America

Matthew Yglesias over at The Atlantic points us to this eye-popping chart from A Better Way to Go, a USPIRG Education Fund report published in March 2008. Download the report here. It's a good one to have on-hand. A few factoids to accompany the chart:

    • Since 1956, federal, state and local governments have invested nine times more capital funding in highway subsidies than in transit.
    • In 2004, state governments spent nearly 13 times more public funds on highways than on transit.
    • The process for securing funding for new transit lines is far more onerous and less certain than for highway projects, with the federal government generally picking up a smaller share of the tab for new transit lines than for new highway projects.

Yglesias also notes:

Of course you can't bring this subject up without legions of people informing you that the gas tax pays for the highways. This simply isn't true. All the funds raised by the gas tax are spent on highways, and then a bunch of additional money is also spent on highways.

Mark Delucchi at the U.C. Davis Institute for Transportation Studies backs that up as well. In a study published last fall, Delucchi found that "current tax and fee payments to the government by motor-vehicle users fall short of government expenditures related to motor-vehicle use by approximately 20 to 70 cents per gallon of all motor fuel." U.S. drivers do not pay their own way.

After the jump is another great chart from A Better Way to Go. Anyone want to guess how many millions of dollars in gasoline cost savings and tons of carbon dioxide emissions reductions the New York City Transit produces annually?

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Thursday’s Headlines: Paris is a Lot Cooler than NYC Edition

The City of Light has figured out how to reduce the heat island effect. Plus other news in today's daily digest.

July 18, 2024

Exclusive: Legal Team Announced for Suit Against Hochul’s Congestion Pricing ‘Pause’

Attorneys from three firms have inked a joint defense agreement to fight "the governor’s illegal decision to cancel congestion pricing," Comptroller Brad Lander said.

July 17, 2024

Brooklyn BP Wants Mayor Adams To Do More To Reduce Parking

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso's recommendation on City of Yes: Eliminating parking mandates is not enough!

July 17, 2024

Wednesday’s Headlines: Citi Bike By the Numbers Edition

Haters of Citi Bike are really going to detest the new website. Plus other news.

July 17, 2024

Once Again, There is More Evidence that Safer Streets Help Local Business

...and there's more insight into why people simply don't believe it.

July 17, 2024
See all posts