Annual "free" parking subsidy in US is $127 billion/year ? Yikes

Tyler Cowen in the NY Times:
it’s a classic tale of how subsidies, use restrictions, and price controls can steer an economy in wrong directions. Car owners may not want to hear this, but we have way too much free parking.

... Donald C. Shoup, professor of urban planning at [UCLA] has made this idea a cause, as presented in his 733-page book, “The High Cost of Free Parking.”

... the presence of so many parking spaces is an artifact of regulation and serves as a powerful subsidy to cars and car trips. Legally mandated parking lowers the market price of parking spaces, often to zero. ...

... Yet the law is allocating this land rather than letting market prices adjudicate whether we need more parking, and whether that parking should be free. We end up overusing land for cars — and overusing cars too. ...

As Professor Shoup wrote, “Minimum parking requirements act like a fertility drug for cars.”

... 99 percent of all automobile trips in the United States end in a free parking space, rather than a parking space with a market price. In his book, Professor Shoup estimated that the value of the free-parking subsidy to cars was at least $127 billion in 2002, and possibly much more. ...

As Professor Shoup puts it: “Who pays for free parking? Everyone but the motorist.”

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