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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