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Transportation

The Commuter Parking Benefit Is Seriously Hurting Cities

The federal government spends $7.6 billion a year paying people to drive to work, and it’s making traffic and pollution worse. Here’s how some cities are fighting back.
Cars taking up valuable urban land.
Cars taking up valuable urban land.TransitCenter

There’s no shortage of conflicting priorities between the federal and city governments, ranging from the life-threatening to the seriously wonky. Tax subsidies for parking are decidedly in the latter category, but they really do have a big impact on urban life.

A new report from TransitCenter lends some statistics to show just how big that impact really is: Commuter benefits programs (also known as tax subsidies) for drivers—or rather, parkers—cost the U.S. $7.3 billion each year, add about 820,000 commuters to the road, and result in an extra 4.6 billion miles driven annually.