Stemming Sprawl: The Fiscal Approach
H. William Batt
[Chapter 10 from the book, Suburban Sprawl:
Culture, Theory, and Politics, edited by Matthew J. Lindstrom and
Hugh Bartling; Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2003.
Reprinted with permission from the publisher. All rights reserved.]
SPRAWL DEVELOPMENT CONFIGURATIONS are not natural. Were it not for
incentives to the contrary, people would choose to live and work in
dose proximity. This has been well documented in studies of every era
and place. Only when incentives are put in place that induce people
to live in other circumstances do they choose settlement patterns that
are remote, less accessible, and alienating. Only in the industrial
era and after have outlying areas become more attractive. Tracing the
history of such developments makes it dear that they are a response to
less livable conditions of urban life as they have evolved -- the
pollution of ah- and water, loss of nature, loss of privacy, housing
deficiencies, and so on. In more recent years, differentials in
taxation and die quality of services (such as schools) have also
played a role in making the suburbs more attractive.
Those differentials are explained by public policies that were never
understood or envisioned by their designers. Lacking an appreciation
of land economics or the relationship between land value and
transportation service, governments have put into place a system of
taxes and subsidies that amplify and exacerbate whatever impulses
already exist to escape the pathologies of urban environments. The
polluting industries of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
are largely gone, but the impulses to leave cities behind continue,
driven now by policies for which governments themselves are
It is important to understand how closely linked transportation costs
and land costs are. There are fixed costs involved in locating a home
or a business in either place: the costs of building a home, office,
or factory and the costs of purchasing a car or a truck. Leaving those
costs aside for the moment, consider the relationship between the
variable operating costs due to locating in an urban center versus
those in locating at the periphery, expressed conceptually in figure
Figure 10.1 shows that a household or business is likely to incur
costs by locating at either site, whether at a city's center or at the
city's edge. At a center site, the costs will take the form of higher
land rent; at the city's edge, the costs will be transportation
related. If this is not readily apparent, it is because society
provides subsidies to titleholders and travelers beyond what are
directly experienced or understood.
Consider first the costs of transportation in remote areas; such
costs are necessarily higher. The way in which geographers and some
land economists understand transportation is by using the terms "accessibility"
and "mobility." As explained in one basic textbook,
Accessibility refers to the number of
opportunities, also called activity sites, available within a
certain distance or travel time. Mobility refers to the ability to
move between different activity sites (e.g., from home to a grocery
American transportation planners have focused excessively on mobility
with almost total disregard for accessibility. The result is that we
are frequently hard put to accomplish our transactions for lack of
easy access, even though it is easy to travel great distances with
facility. One old joke will serve as a metaphor to better illustrate
A man ordered a cup of coffee at a lunch counter and
shortly then ordered a second cup. After quickly drinking that cup,
he ordered a third cup, and then a fourth, and then a fifth. The
waitress, astonished at this man's requests, finally said to him, "My
Sir! You certainly do like coffee." "I certainly do,"
he replied. "Otherwise I wouldn't be drinking all this water
just to get a little."
The analogy is apparent: Water is to mobility as coffee is to
accessibility. We do an awful lot of driving just to do what we need
to do. This is because transportation engineers and land use planners
have confused two fundamental concepts: access and mobility.
By confusing these two principles, we spend an inordinate amount of
money on transportation services, most of it on roads and highways.
One 1993 study calculated that the total costs of motor vehicle
transportation to our society equal approximately a fourth of our
gross domestic product (GDP). The study concluded that "when
the full range of costs of transportation are tallied, passenger
ground transportation costs the American public a total of $1.2 to
$1.6 trillion each year. Just the costs of automobile crashes
represents a figure equal to 8 percent of the American GDP. Japan,
by way of comparison, spends an estimated 10.4 percent to satisfy all
its transportation requirements, although the figure might be a bit
low because not all externalities are included in the calculation.
Road user fees in 1991 totaled only about $33 billion, whereas the
true costs to society were ten times that; put another way, drivers
pay only 10 percent of the true costs of their motor vehicle use.
The balance is paid by society, effectively subsidizing highway use by
paying for all but the marginal out-of-pocket operating costs.
The relationship between transportation costs and land values can be
made even clearer by empirical study of how land values increase as
one moves toward the center of the city. In an investigation for the
Urban Land Institute, the author concluded that, for Portland, Oregon,
each additional mile [traveled] translated into slightly
more than $5,000 in housing costs; closer-in locations command a
premium, those farther out save money. A ten-mile difference, all
other things being equal, would amount to about $56,000 in new home
For a household in which one worker drives downtown (or at least to
a more central location) to work, that ten-mile difference may
amount to 4,600 miles annually, assuming 230 days of commuting and a
round-trip of 20 miles each day. Moreover, if non-work trips to the
central area and elsewhere doubled that amount, the tradeoff would
be about 9,000 miles annually, which could mean a higher/lower
driving cost of $3,000 annually, not counting the time
Such are the savings for living closer to the urban center by ten
miles. If the urban resident has to rely on a car nonetheless,
subtracting some $3,000 annual travel expenses will still leave him
paying again that much (and likely more) to own a car. Author James
Kunstler put the true costs along with other experts at about $6,100
annually seven years ago. The American Automobile Association
calculated that a car driven 15,000 miles in 2001 cost 51 cents per
mile, or $7,650. This figure reflects only direct costs to the
driver, not the additional costs passed on to society.
The latter figures include externalities such as pollution and the
costs of highway crashes. Hortatory public pleas for people to tune up
their engines so ' that they pollute less, to inflate tires properly,
and to drive more safely are not likely to change the reality that
people are forgetful and fallible. Pollution-free cars are not
available; people must drive to participate in this society. The
consequences of sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, and ozone are no
longer a matter of debate; they are scientific fact Despite frequent
headlines about replacing the internal combustion engine, all the
realistic substitutes also ultimately rely on fossil fuel power,
solar-powered cars are far in the future, if at all, and also fail to
deal with any transition. And every person driving his or her own car
multiplies the probabilities of accidents. When people step into a
car, they are seldom mindful of such odds. Yet if the direct pecuniary
costs of driving increase in any substantial way, there will surely be
significant changes in the trade-offs involved in
housing/transportation choices. As will be made clear later, making
costs visible and linking them to private personal behavior is one way
to ensure that transportation pays its own way.
Sooner than Americans are likely to bear the real burden of global
warming's environmental consequences, they are likely to experience
the onset of price rises for petroleum. Experts are divided, but among
those best insulated from the pressures of bias, there is increasing
consensus that the peak of oil extraction worldwide will come sometime
around 2010 if not sooner.11 Rising prices will not induce greater
supply; it will not change the fact that the world will have passed
the point of most easily extracted oil and will enter a long and
increasingly steep period of declining availability. It is rather a
matter of physics: When it costs more in energy to bring oil from deep
in the earth than what can be extracted, it is not worth the
investment Even the greater wealth of American society will not
insulate it from world competition over what is a limited and fungible
commodity. How this alters the calculations Americans make about where
to live and work will increasingly depend on the price they are
willing to pay for transportation service.
Looking at figure 10.1 once more, it is likely that the slope of the
line reflecting land rent and transportation costs will become steeper
in time, making each factor greater relative to the other. The century
during which motor vehicle transportation was dominant tended to
flatten that line, but the greater and growing transportation costs
will tend to make land values at urban centers higher relative to
remote locales, much as occurred in pre-industrial times or during the
railroad and canal eras. George Kennan notes in one of his books that
The railway ... was capable of accepting and disgorging
its loads, whether of passengers or freight, only at fixed points.
This being the case, it tended to gather together, and to
concentrate around its urban terminus and railhead, all activity
that was in any way related to movements of freight or passengers
into or out of the city. It was in this quality that it had made
major and in some ways decisive contributions to the development not
only of the great railway metropolises of the Victorian age --
particularly of such inland cities as Moscow, Berlin, Paris, and
Chicago -- but even certain of the great maritime turnover ports,
such as London and New York.
The automobile, on the other hand, had precisely the opposite
qualities. Incapable, in view of its own cumbersomeness and
requirements for space, of accepting or releasing large loads at any
concentrated points anywhere, but peculiarly capable of accepting
and releasing them at multitudes of unconcentrated points anywhere
else, the automobile tended to disintegrate and to explode all that
the railway had brought together. It was, in fact, the enemy of the
concentrated city. Thus it was destined to destroy the great densely
populated urban centers of the nineteenth century, with all the
glories of economic and cultural life that had flowed from their
very unity and compactness.
From the standpoint of an economic geographer and for some land
economists, land rent is simply capitalized transportation cost. Land
rent is the surplus generated by social activity on or in the vicinity
of locational sites that accrues to titleholders of those parcels.
Whether or not it is recaptured by public policy, rent is a natural
factor deriving from the intensive use of natural capital. One must
return to nineteenth-century classical economics to appreciate the
importance of economic rent or land rent; neoclassical economic
frameworks have largely discarded it.13 More intensive use of
high-value land sites leads to site configurations that are less
dependent on transportation services. Land rent is highest where the
greatest traffic and market exchanges occur, that being at the center
of large conurbations. Comparing land values of urban property
parcels, the highest land rent in the urban cores and traffic
junctures are analogous to the contours of land elevations. Mountain
peaks gradually slope down to valleys and flatland regions and
continue outward until at distant points-perhaps at the poles of the
earth-land sites have no market value at all.
The differentials in land values are profound, even more than most
people realize. In 1995, in the small city of Ithaca, New York, the
highest quintile of land had a value of over $56,000 per acre in the
downtown center, whereas the lowest quintile only a mile away falls to
less than $3,000. Large city centers have far higher site prices.
Even in Polk County, Iowa (which includes Des Moines), in the middle
of cornfields where I did a study two years ago, the highest urban
value land site was $31.3 million per acre, which quickly declined to
about $20,000 per acre only about a mile away. In the spring of 1998,
one land parcel (the building was to be razed) of less than an acre in
New York . City's Times Square and split in two pieces by Broadway was
sold by Prudential Life to Disney for roughly $240 million. To
take another instance, a nine-acre tract on the East River in New York
City occupied by an obsolete power plant was purchased by Mort
Zuckerman to build high-rise condominiums two years ago. The sale
price was in the neighborhood of $680 million and would have been
higher were it not for some enormous costs associated with the
demolition of the old structures. It should be noted that the
overwhelming proportion of land value is in cities; relatively
speaking, the site values of peripheral lands, typically used for
agriculture and timber growth, are negligible. Land values are high in
urban areas because, over time, rent accrues to a site. Each
improvement in proximity to a property parcel enhances the value of
all other parcels. This makes even unimproved sites attractive objects
for speculation, particularly when land sites surrounding it are to be
improved by adding either transportation service or new structures.
One nine-mile stretch of interstate highway in Albany, New York,
costing $125 million to construct, has yielded $3.8 billion in
increased land values (constant dollars) within just two miles of its
corridor in the forty years of its existence. This is a
thirty-fold return in a time span typically used for bond repayment!
Metro created increments in land value along much of the
101-mile system completed by 1980 that easily exceeded $3.5 billion,
compared with the $2.7 billion of federal funds invested in Metro
up until that time. Any major building construction project,
private or public, will have a similar effect on adjacent land sites.
Differentials in land value can have a profound effect on decisions
made by titleholders, either positively by inducing appropriate
development in urban cores or negatively by giving monopoly
titleholders power to hold sites out of use for long-term speculative
gain. Such decisions of course determine the character of urban
configurations and society as well.
Stemming Sprawl: Command-and-Control Measures
Policymakers have two modes of leverage by which to implement public
will: 1) so.-called command-and-control approaches that are typically
enforced by what state and federal constitutions group under "police
powers" and 2) fiscal approaches that typically involve a variety
of taxes, fees, fines, and other charges that derive constitutionally
from either police powers or "tax powers." When governments
administer either of these powers, they are legitimate and
authoritative. Fiscal measures available to governments can come from
either ground. The charges that the private sector usually impose
differ in that they usually are responsive to market forces. Prices
that are established by government, however, are not necessarily
responsive to market forces, nor are they intended to be. Rather, they
are set in order to accomplish specific public policy goals. They
can be no less efficient, however, when responsibly instituted.
Governments face the challenge of knowing which of the tools at their
disposal-command-and-control approaches or "pricing"
approaches -- will best serve effective and efficient achievement of
public policies. Only in recent years, however, has there been a
renewed interest in fiscal levers to achieve goals that policymakers
seek to achieve. There is particular interest among students of
welfare economics in incorporating costs earlier regarded as
externalities, especially in designing environmental policies.
Moreover, the use of pricing approaches to recover costs of government
services that have a high level of private good about them can bring
about more attractive and achievable goals than reliance on
conventional police power approaches. User fees, environmental fees,
and other such fiscal tools have become more fascinating -- at least
to students of public policy -- than conventional taxes.
The renewed interest in fiscal approaches comes in recognition of the
fact that traditional command-and-control approaches have not been
successful. Government authority is far more effective at prohibiting
and controlling than it is inducing and channeling. Three
illustrations of failed command-and-control approaches will
demonstrate this: zoning, urban growth boundaries, and altering
(usually expanding) political jurisdictions.
The largest single and impartial study of zoning, a 1969 report to
the National Commission on Urban Problems (the Douglas Commission),
conceded that zoning is of questionable value. A part titled "Fragmentation
in Land-Use Planning and Control" quoted with approval a (then)
recent study that had held the following:
1) While a great deal has been said about what zoning
ought to do, very little has been said about what zoning actually
does to the city and its inhabitants.
2) Although zoning is the most widespread tool of land-use control
and urban planning in the United States, there is almost no
evidence, logical or empirical, to indicate whether or not zoning
accomplishes the goals and purposes attributed to it by planners and
3) There is almost no evidence to indicate that the unzoned city is
substantially different from, or substantially similar to, the zoned
Planners, of course, respond by saying that they have been given too
little power and that their designs needed to be incorporated more
widely, comprehensively, and stringently over broader regions. To
their way of thinking, it is the balkanization of municipal plans, as
well as their tepid injunctions, that account for failure. Zoning,
they argue, needs the even more fundamental support of "master
plans," that is, more command-and-control instruments.
Zoning becomes captive of parochial interests -- home owners,
speculators, the highway industry, and building contractors -- who
naturally either resist or exploit the inexorable and evolutionary
patterns of change. The political Right criticizes zoning for
interfering with individual choice and rational land use, and the
Progressive Center criticizes it for being outdated and rigid at best,
unresponsive and destructive at worst. Alan Ehrenhalt, columnist for
Governing Magazine, said,
The postwar zoning codes discouraged the old
pedestrian-scale Main Street corridors that had flourished before
World War II, and encouraged their replacement with strip-mall-like
businesses that provided large amounts of parking. They took the
idea of segregated uses and pressed it much further than die
original versions had dared go. The more distance they could create
between residential, commercial and industrial uses, planners
reasoned, the easier it would be to dissuade residents from escaping
to greener pastures.
Implicit in all this is an authoritarian approach to land use
decisions. It arises out of the notion that professionals -- in this
case planners -- know best and that fragmented land use is an
outgrowth of "excessive localism" and fragmented decision
making and an inability to see the "big picture." The report
recognized the continuing influence of the classic approach of
planners first put forth in the (congressional) Standard City Planning
Act of 1928 and defined in detail in Edward Bassett's classic book
The Master Plan. In that text, to influence planners for
decades to come, three criteria determined the scope of a good plan: "Each
of the elements of the plan relates to land areas; has been stamped on
land areas by the community for the community use; (and] can be shown
on a map." Particularly revealing, and no doubt deliberate,
is the use of the word "stamp." The approach is autocratic,
static-rather than organic, and governmentally expensive.
Urban Growth Boundaries
Urban growth boundaries (UGBs) are another panacea receiving great
attention: the attempt to curtail outward growth by imposing a
constraining girdle on development. Portland, Oregon, and Boulder,
Colorado, are the exemplars, both having instituted their policies
decades ago. In Boulder, however, the results are more hi consequence
of factors relating to topography and infrastructure service than to
prohibition of outward extension. And Portland has been pressured
to alter its boundary repeatedly as differential land values within
and beyond the boundary induce growth patterns both unnatural and
inefficient. Landholders within the city endorsed it because it
doubled their site values in a decade, which has meant that, relative
to local income, housing is now more expensive than in any city except
San Francisco. Inevitably, the economic pressures grew to the
point of political crisis, at which time the policies were relaxed.
This is because UGBs deal with symptoms rather than the root economic
causes of the problem. In 1996, six Bay Area communities "locked
in" long-term protection for the greenbelt by adopting a UGB
covering a total of 3.75 million acres.2* For perspective, this
translates to 5,860 square miles, an expanse equal to that of
Connecticut and Rhode Island together. But only 731,000 acres, 1,142
square miles, are urbanized at the present time, and it could be a
century before "build-out" and any significant impact from
such measures occur. It was politically impossible to impose any
smaller design, which illustrates the difficulty, and indeed the
fallacy, of using a command-and-control device to constrain an
inexorable economic force.
Elastic City Boundaries
The former mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico, David Rusk, has made a
name for himself promoting what he calls "elastic cities."
His answer is for municipalities to expand or combine their political
boundaries in order to "capture" suburban growth in their
tax base. In some cases, state laws must be passed to authorize this,
overcoming the reluctance of suburbs to relinquish their privileged
status. In those states where such annexation is permissible and has
occurred, it might momentarily help address a shrinking tax base, but
the urban configuration is unaltered and perhaps bloated. Consider,
for example, the case of Columbus, Ohio, which in 1950 had an
incorporated area of only 39.9 square miles. The total number of
square miles by 1967 had grown to 114 and in 1996 had almost doubled
again to 206. One unwelcome consequence, however, is the reduction
of farmland, which the city is now realizing.
Stemming Sprawl: Pricing Measures for Transportation
From the foregoing, it is clear that insofar as the causes of sprawl
development are economic, the solution needs to be economic as well.
The equilibrium of forces can be restored in two ways: 1) by charging
the true marginal costs of motor vehicle transportation to users and
2) by recovering the economic rent from urban site owners that is
really the socially created value.
It is easy to distinguish five elements of transportation service
cost: capital investment, maintenance costs, regulation costs,
environmental externalities, and congestion costs. Each of these calls
for a different treatment with respect to revenue design. Capital
costs are best recovered by recapturing the land rent proximate to the
highway corridors. This is socially created value, which is better
used to honor debt service of infrastructure investment than allowing
it to be retained as windfall gains by titleholders to property dose
by. User fees, most aptly linked to the purchase of motor fuel and
tire wear, serve as a proxy for the use of the roads and can be
designed to be commensurate with use. As the wear and tear of roads as
well as police patrol, snow and ice control, and signaling all involve
operating and maintenance costs, such charges are easily linked with
benefits received. In the future, still more accurate systems of
service charges are likely to appear: Singapore, Hong Kong, and New
Zealand are already reliant on electronic devices that record road use
by time, place, and vehicle weight.
Ensuring the safety of drivers and vehicles through licenses,
registrations, and inspections is most appropriately financed by fees
commensurate with the costs of their administration. This way, if a
vehicle is used but seldom, it is charged on the basis of its
identification rather than assuming any projected level of use.
Environmental externalities such as pollution costs can be linked to
the polluting source, such as diesel fuel and gasoline consumption, to
the full extent necessary to equilibrate air quality and other
environmental ambiences. Congestion costs, the last of the major
components of a pricing design for highway use, are partially paid for
by the time loss of those caught in traffic. The costs of time lost
due to highway congestion are enormous: In 2000, the average driver
spent 62 hours sitting in traffic at a nationwide cost of $68 billion
in gas and time lost In Los Angeles, the average driver spent 136
hours stalled in traffic at an average cost of $2,510. Commuting
times were also 20 percent longer than they were a decade ago, about
22 minutes one way nationally on average but as high as 32 minutes on
average in New York. But not all people's time is valued equally,
and people themselves value their time differently at different times,
and it is unfair to require people to impose their congestion on
others. Therefore, congestion pricing, being explored in several urban
regions, provides a rationing of limited highway space. In a sense,
that payment for space usage, in time or money, is a form of land
Stemming Sprawl Stemming Sprawl: Pricing Measures for
Just as recovering the costs of transportation service equilibrates
costs and benefits on one side of the equation, recovering the
economic rent accruing to land value facilitates efficient space
configurations on the other side. Figure 10.2, again conceptually,
portrays how the collection of various transportation user fees as
well as the recovery of land rent corrects the economic distortions
that today result in sprawl development. The shaded area indicates the
pricing correctives necessary to ensure that neither urban nor rural
land sites are dis-advantaged in travel or location choices that
individuals make for either residential or commercial purposes.
As it happens, collecting land rent is a relatively simple operation:
It involves a small computer adjustment in the assessment base of what
is now the local real property tax. The real property tax to an
economist is really two separate taxes: that put on land value and
that put on improvement values. A gradual phaseout of the tax on the
improvement component, shifting totally to a tax on the land, recovers
economic rent in a way that satisfies all the principles of sound tax
theory. It is efficient, neutral, equitable, administrate, stable,
and simple. It is also absolutely foolproof: One cannot hide land or
take it to a remote tax haven. It relieves poor households (who
typically own no land) of any tax burden and rewards those
titleholders who use their sites efficiently. High-value sites are
induced to construct high-value improvements, and low-value sites are
left alone. In this way, central locations, where commercial
enterprises typically locate, pay according to their intensity; home
owners, who typically locate at the periphery of a neighborhood
community, pay moderately; and agricultural land and forestlands pay
little if anything. By an automatic and natural process, the
centrifugal forces of. sprawl development are reversed, and investment
is encouraged in core locales. The higher density resulting affords
the necessary ten to twelve households per acre (or the commercial
equivalent) that makes public transportation service economically
viable, lessening the prospect of automobile dependency.
In addition, a tax on site value (that is, the collection of economic
rent) restores moral principle to tax theory. By collecting rent on
that value that is generated by the collective activity of the
community, it offers the opportunity to relieve tax burdens on value
that is generated by individual effort Put another way, any value that
individuals create by their own bodies and minds is left for them to
keep; that which is socially created value is recovered by the
community to pay for its collective purposes. "Tax what you take,
not what you make," is one way to say it. "Tax bads, not
goods," or "Tax waste, not work," is another way. At
the heart of this approach is a very profound message: The earth is
the common heritage of humanity; it belongs to everyone. That which
grows out of our own personal efforts and ingenuity is ours to keep,
and no part of it should be subject to taxation. Taxes on income,
sales, savings, structures, and things mat come from the sweat of our
brow can be replaced by taxes on land rent-which, when all forms of it
are included, is revenue source that can fully pay for the full
services of government and is nonetheless essentially burden-less to
taxpayers. What economists call the "excess burden" or "deadweight
loss" of the current tax structure -- by many calculations at
least 25 percent -- is reduced to zero, thereby increasing our
collective productivity by that amount That effectively makes us all
20 percent wealthier.
John Houseman, an actor perhaps most widely known as Professor
Kings-field in the film and long-running television series, The
Paper Chase, later became the pitchman for Oppenheimer Mutual
Funds. In that advertisement, his tag line was "We get our money
the old-fashioned way -- we earn it" That we should earn
our money rather than live off the efforts of others seems a simple
enough moral tenet. But it seems to have lost its cogency in
contemporary economic thought. More than a century ago, John Stuart
Mill noted that
landlords grow richer in their sleep without working,
risking 6r economizing. The increase in the value of land, arising
as it does from the efforts of an entire community, should belong to
the community and not to the individual who might hold tide.
xxxx 1. Brian K.
Roberts, Landscapes of Settlement: Prehistory to the Present
(London: Roudedge, 1996); Spiro Kostof, The City Shaped: Urban
Patterns and Meanings through History (Boston: Little, Brown, 1991).
xxxx 2. Susan Hanson, ed., The
Geography of Urban Transportation (2nd ed.) (New York: Guilford,
1995), 5. See also Elliott Sclar, Access for All: Transportation and
Urban Growth (New York: Columbia University Press, 1980).
xxxx 3. Peter Miller and John Moffet,
The Price of Mobility: Uncovering the Hidden Costs of
Transportation (Washington, D.C.: Natural Resources Defense
Council, 1993). This is somewhat more than the U.S. Department of
Transportation's own calculation. The latter uses only direct
measurable pecuniary costs and estimates that the figure was in the
neighborhood of $1 trillion for 1992, about 17 percent of gross
national product (converting to GDP would make it somewhat higher).
Since it fails to include externalities such as pollution, accidents,
and other associated costs, it seems a reasonable estimate (U.S.
Department of Transportation, Transportation Statistics Annual
Report, 1994 [Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Transportation,
Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 1994] ,4-5).
xxxx 4. In 1988, a study by the Urban
Institute calculated that $71 billion were borne in out-of-pocket
costs, another $46 billion in lost wages and household production, and
$217 billion in pain, suffering, and lost quality of life. Translated
into vernacular, this is a total of $334 billion in lost property,
work time, and injuries and deaths (T. Miller et al., The Costs of
Highway Crashes [Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute, October
xxxx 5. Walter Hook, "Counting on
Cars, Counting Out People," Institute for Transportation
Development Policy Paper, Winter 1994,28. Another author puts the
figure at 9.2 percent of personal expenditure in Japan versus 22
percent in the United States (Michael Replogle, "Improving Access
for the Poor in Urban Areas," Appropriate Technology 20,
no. 1 [ 1993): 21-23).
xxxx 6. James J. MacKenzie et al., The
Going Rate: What It Realty Costs to Drive (Washington, D.C.: World
Resources Institute, 1992).
xxxx 7. Road Kill: How Solo Driving
Runs Down the Economy (Boston: Conservation Law Foundation, May
1994), 7. This study is a summary of a larger study done by Apogee
Research, Inc., funded by the Joyce Foundation.
xxxx 8. Robert T. Dunphy, "The Cost
of Being Close: Land Values and Housing Prices in Portland's High Tech
Corridor," ULI Working Paper No. 660, October 1998, at
xxxx 9. James Howard Kunstler, Home
from Nowhere: Remaking Our Everyday World for the 21st Century
(New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), chap. 3, at
(accessed January 2001).
xxx 10. See
(accessed January 2001). Driving 10,000 miles per year will typically
cost 64.5 cents per mile, or $6,450, and driving 20,000 miles per year
will cost 45.8 cents per mile, or $9,160.
xxx 11. See, for example,
listing inter alia
Kenneth S. Deffeyes, Hubbert's Peak The Impending World Oil
Shortage (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2001);
Walter Youngquist, Geodestinies (Portland, Ore.: National Book
Company, 1997); and,
maintained by Dr. Jay Hanson (Cornell University, retired).
xxx 12. George Kennan, Around the
Cragged Hill; A Personal and Political Philosophy (New York:
Norton, 1993), 160-61.
xxx 13. Explanation of the Mure to
recognize the law of rent, as understood by classical economists, is
explained in Mason Gaffhey and Fred Harrison, The Corruption of
Economics (London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1994). See also H. William
Batt, "How the Railroads Got Us on the Wrong Economic Track,"
Torch Magazine, Spring 1998.
xxx 14. These data come from other work
I have done.
xxx 15. New York Times, March
xxx 16. Charles V. Bagli, "In
Manhattan, a Battle over Nine Acres with River View," New
York Times, December 29,1999; Charles V. Bagli, "Winning Bid
to Develop Nine Acres Near UN.," New York Times, January 2,2000.
xxx 17. H. William Batt, "Value
Capture as a Policy Tool in Transportation Economics: An Exploration
in Public Finance in the Tradition of Henry George," American
Journal of Economics and Sociology 60, no. 1 (January 2001):
195-228 (reprinted in Laurence S. Moss, ed., City and Country
[Maiden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2001]).
xxx 18. Walter Rybeck, "Transit-Induced
Land Values: Development and Revenue Implications," Economic
Development Commentary 5, no. 1 (October 1981): 23-27.
xxx 19. One recent exploration of this
is a chapter titled "Catalytic Government: Steering Rather Than
Rowing," in Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial
Spirit Is Transforming the Public Sector, ed. David Osborne and
Ted Gaebler (New York: Penguin, 1993).
xxx 20. This was explored in powerful
detail in a book that is now regarded as a classic study: Robert A.
Dahl and Charles E Lindblom, Politics, Economics and Welfare:
Planning and Politico-Economic Systems Resolved into Basic Social
Processes (New York: Harper & Row, 1953, updated in 1992).
xxx 21. James G. Coke and John J.
Gargan, "Fragmentation in Land-Use Planning and Control,"
Research Report No. 18 (prepared for the consideration of the National
Commission on Urban Problems, Washington, D.C., 1969), 11.
xxx 22. Linda Fantin, "Libertarian
Candidate Says Government Is Root of Most Planning Ills," Tribune
(Salt Lake City), March 28,1998.
xxx 23. Alan Ehrenhalt, "The
Trouble with Zoning," Governing Magazine, February
xxx 24. Coke and Gargan, "Fragmentation
in Land-Use Planning and Control," 61.
xxx 25. Peter Pollock, "Controlling
Sprawl in Boulder: Benefits and Pitfalls," Landlines,
January 1998,1 ff., at www.lincolninst.edu/main.html (accessed
xxx 26. The studies of Portland's UGB
are myriad, so many that one is better served by surfing the Internet
anew rather than enumerate citations here. The Portland Oregon-tan,
however, has had extensive and balanced coverage of the issues and
offers the best single source of material.
xxx 27. Alan Ehrenhalt points out that "Portland
land prices, 19 percent below the U.S. average in 1985, were 6 percent
above it by 1994, and that while Portland was the nation's 55th most
affordable city just six years ago, it now ranks 165th out of 179."
He points out that the increased land values have encouraged both
in-filling and higher densities inside the growth boundary, while the
individual lot sizes have gone from an average of 13,200 square feet
when the growth boundary was first established to an average 8,700
square feet in the mid-1990s. This increased density has been an
attraction to many residents, and it is now possible for 40 percent of
the workers commuting to work in Portland to rely on public
transportation (Alan Ehrenhalt, "The Great Wall of Portland,"
Governing Magazine, May 1997,20-24).
xxx 28. Urban Growth Boundaries -- New
Report and Factsheet, at rahul.net (link no longer active), and
(accessed January 2001); Zack Stentz, "Inward Bound," Sonoma
County Independent, July 11,1996.
xxx 29. One square mile converts to
roughly 640 acres. San Francisco covers 30,000 acres (46.8 square
miles), Santa Rosa 22,000 (34.4 square miles), and San Jose more than
100,000 (156 square miles). More than 864,000 acres (1,350 square
miles), an area larger than Yosemite National Park, are publicly
owned, mostly in parks and watersheds;
xxx 30. David Rusk, Cities without
Suburbs (Baltimore: Woodrow Wilson Center, The Johns Hopkins
University Press, 1993), See also Myron Orfield, Metropolises: A
Regional Agenda for Community and Stability (rev. ed.)
(Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press; Cambridge, Mass.:
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 1997).
xxx 31. City of Columbus, Growth
xxx 32. Communication with Dr. Barbara
Brugman, Development Department, City of Columbus, Spring 1998.
xxx 35. Texas Transportation Institute
study, reported in the Christian Science Monitor, June 24,2002,14.
xxx 36. Laurent Belsie, "Commutes
Get Longer, More Rural," Christian Science Monitor, May
xxx 37. See H. William Batt, "Principles
of Sound Tax Theory as Have Evolved over 200 and More Years,"
xxx 38. Parsons Brinkerhoff, "Transit
and Urban Form," TCRP Report No. 16, Transportation Research
Board, Washington, D.C., 1996.
xxx 39. See www.earthrights.net for
greater elaboration of the theory underlying this approach.
xxx 40. Classical economic theory
employed the word "land" as a factor of production, the
others being labor and capital. Land was taken to mean any valued good
in nature and today includes highly valued items, such as hydrocarbons
and hard-rock minerals, fisheries, water for irrigation and power, the
electromagnetic spectrum, geosynchronous satellite orbits, and airport
landing and takeoff time slots. All these yield economic rent that
today is being captured by private corporate interest but that should
be the entitlement of all humankind according to the theories of what
is coining to be known variously as geonomy, geoclassical liberalism,
Georgian (after the writings of nineteenth-century self-taught
economist Henry George), and natural taxation. For further references
to this school of political economy, see, for example,
www.henrygeorge.org, www.schalkenbach.org, www.urbantools.org,
www.cooperativeindividuaUsm.org, www.progress.org, and the search
engine for all these and more: www.askhenry.org.
xxx 41. Fred Harrison, ed, The
Losses of Nations Deadweight Politics versus Public Rent Dividends
(London: Othila Press, 1998). See also National Center for Policy
Analysis, "The Deadweight Loss of Income Taxes," where it is
argued that "die efficiency loss from current income taxes is
more than 30 percent If Social Security taxes are included, mere is a
50 percent efficiency loss"
xxx 42. John Stuart Mill, Principles
of Political Economy, bk. 5, chap. 2, sec. 5.