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RE: Pricing Public Parking as a Land Value Tax

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  • Wetzel Dave
    ... From: Todd Alexander Litman [mailto:litman@vtpi.org] Subject: Pricing Public Parking as a Land Value Tax Donald Shoup s new book The High Cost of Free
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 18, 2005
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Todd Alexander Litman [mailto:litman@...]
      Subject: Pricing Public Parking as a Land Value Tax

      Donald Shoup's new book "The High Cost of Free Parking," (Planners Press,
      www.planning.org, 2005) is a wonderfully clear discussion of the benefits
      that could result from more efficient management of public parking. It is
      very insightful and readable, entertaining actually, despite the fact that
      it deals with a highly technical issue. The key message is that current
      practices, which result in abundant, free parking, are inefficient and
      unfair, with many unintended consequences including higher development
      costs and reduced profits; increased automobile ownership and use leading
      to increased congestion, accidents and pollution; increased sprawl and
      associated costs; and reduced housing affordability.

      Because parking spaces must be located as close as possible to a
      destination, their optimal price (a price that results in turnover, so a
      maximum of 85% of spaces are occupied at any time) reflects land values.
      The potential revenues are large. Shoup estimates that revenues from
      efficiently priced curb parking could replace about half of local property
      taxes in urban areas, reducing residents' tax burdens or increasing public

      Chapter 19, titled 'The Ideal Source of Local Public Revenue,' discusses a
      shift from free to priced public parking as a reflection of Henry George's
      concept that the additional rent value of land associated with location
      should be taxed. It includes a short history of George and his ideas, and
      compares curb parking pricing with land value taxes in terms of incidence
      (how the cost burden is distributed), assessment (ease of calculating),
      efficiency (direct and indirect economic costs), and equity (the fairness
      of cost distribution). On all these groups Shoup argues that pricing
      parking is equal or better than a conventional land value tax. Of course,
      they are not mutually exclusive, both can be applied. The analysis is very
      through, including discussion of impacts on property values, equity issues,
      and practical ways to make the shift to priced parking politically feasible.

      Todd Litman, Director
      Victoria Transport Policy Institute
      "Efficiency - Equity - Clarity"
      1250 Rudlin Street
      Victoria, BC, V8V 3R7, Canada
      Phone & Fax: 250-360-1560
      Email: litman@...
      Website: http://www.vtpi.org

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