How transit investments pay for themselves

By Felix Salmon
June 22, 2009

Kaid Benfield has a great wonky post on the connection between carbon emission reductions and land-use regulations. It turns out that the latter can have an enormous effect on the former: in a number of cities and states, the cost of implementing things like transit-oriented development and growth boundaries can actually be negative, thanks to the resulting reduction in vehicle miles driven. (And that’s not even including the fact that household carbon emissions, as opposed to vehicle emissions, are much lower in high-density developments.)

The problem of course is one of political will. The state of Georgia, for instance, could save more than $400 billion over 30 years if it started getting strategic about infrastructure investment, while saving 18 million metric tons of CO2. But will it? I very much doubt it.


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I agree with you Felix that Georgia and its devotion to the coal industry is pretty backward when it comes to energy innovation, but I would appreciate some explanation and statement of source for your estimate of savings for the state of $400 billion over 30 years with strategic infrastructure investment.

My congressman, John Barrow D (GA-12) is about a Blue a blue-dog Demo as you could find. He supports the NRA 100%, voted against the stimulus plan,
(Oxford comma?) and Obama’s Energy Bill.

I will forward him your research and data along with my thoughts as soon as you get it to me.

Tim Harvey
Savannah, GA

Posted by A HARVEY | Report as abusive

Regarding the truncated question within parentheses: “My congressman, John Barrow D (GA-12) is about a Blue a blue-dog Demo as you could find. He supports the NRA 100%, voted against the stimulus plan,
(Oxford comma?) and Obama‚Äôs Energy Bill.”
If Barrow supported the NRA, the stimulus plan, and the energy bill the Oxford comma would qualify. However, this is not a list of three items modified by “supports”. Barrow apparently does NOT support the stimulus plan.
His disposition on the Energy bill remains unclear. It would seem to be modified by “voted against”.

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive


Dubious numbers Felix. Are you truly trying to say that people should be forced into highrises, squashed together like sardines? Are you saying that we should all ride choo-choo trains to our green jobs in the new urban nirvana? Felix, the last time I saw statistics for who liked this mode of living, only young pups like you with no small children and empty nesters one step from The Home thought this was a good idea. Would you and your socialist friends force us to live a lifestyle that we don’t choose? Apparently so. Thanks comrade Felix.

Posted by Guy Thompto | Report as abusive