….some advocates for low-income households and the environment complain that user fees for driving are regressive, i.e. they take a higher percent of the incomes of poor households.
The problem with this argument is that, if driving continues to be subsidized, there won’t be a sufficient market for transit alternatives. The resulting deficiency of transit alternatives not only imposes the costly burden of total automobile dependence, it leads to higher housing prices, as the need to set aside land for parking constrains the supply of housing.
Despite the fact that such a careful approach would avoid burdens, some activists insist that government should invest in better transit without raising user fees for driving. This is a nonstarter. Separate studies conducted by Michael Smart and John Pucher from the Rutgers University Bloustein School found that there will never be a sufficient market for an expansion of transit as long as driving is subsidized. Maintaining such subsidies ensures that the poor will continue bearing the horrifically regressive burdens of total automobile dependence and high housing costs.