On the Road Again: How Tax Policy Drives Transportation Choice.
Virginia Tax Review 2005, Wntr, 24, 3
Virginia Tax Review
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I. INTRODUCTION In the United States, almost 80% of commuters drive to work alone. (1) Why do U.S. commuters persist in driving alone when the evidence is clear that they are wasting time and money, exposing themselves to the risk of accidents, polluting their neighborhoods, and damaging their health? While personal preference and convenience undoubtedly play a significant role in the decision, (2) many commuters have no other practical choice. For years, the government has subsidized a low density, petroleum-intensive lifestyle, thus creating this dilemma. (3) Both direct federal funding for transportation projects through the Highway Trust Fund (4) and a plethora of indirect federal funding through the tax system (5) limit transportation choices. Examples of this indirect funding include (1) the disparate treatment of employee fringe benefits for transit versus parking, (2) the home mortgage interest deduction, which encourages low density housing, and (3) the preferential tax treatment of the oil and gas industry. Other federal tax provisions, such as expensing rules that encourage purchase of large sport utility vehicles (SUVs) (6) and the deductibility of advertising expenses liberally used by the automotive industry contribute to the problem. Changes to the federal tax system can help create a solution.
- Category: Industries & Professions
- Published: 01 January 2005
- Publisher: Virginia Tax Review
- Print Length: 132 Pages
- Language: English