University of Wisconsin–Madison

Who Pays for Parking: How Federal Tax Subsidies Jam More Cars into Congested Cities, and How Cities Can Reclaim Their Streets

Type Policy Brief or Report
Year 2017
Level City or Town
State(s) All States
Policy Areas Transportation & Mobility
The federal tax benefit for commuter parking excludes the value of commuter parking provided by employers from the calculation of a worker’s taxable income. The “check” is bigger for people who make more money or work in the downtown areas of major cities, but the costs of the program are borne by other taxpayers, city governments that must repair the damage those cars inflict on the roads, and the residents of those cities, who must ensure more traffic, noise, and pollution. This report highlights the damages caused by the commuter parking benefit in cities and proposes tools for cities to minimize the negative impact of the commuter parking benefit and encourage workers to use alternative transportation.

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