The high cost of car-related expenses as a household budget item is a major equity blindspot for many Democratic city politicians. For some, the political imagination spans from low-income car owners to high-income car owners, and so the “equitable” policy agenda is all about lowering the costs of car ownership as a bankshot way to help low-income folks.
Wrong. Most real life poor people don’t own cars. The actual equitable position favors making it easier for more people not to own a car by
1) putting more of the external and accessory costs of driving (parking, pollution, congestion, etc) directly on motorists; and
2) allowing more dense multifamily housing to get built in walkable neighborhoods with good pedestrian and transit connections to job centers
My wife and I don’t currently own a car (we use Zipcar) and neither do a whole lot of people, most of whom make substantially less money than us, and have to live a lot further from center city than we do.
Don’t make us pay for other people’s parking via un(der)priced curb parking and forced bundling of parking with housing and commercial buildings. Don’t make buses and trolleys (who carry many people) wait behind single-occupancy vehicles where it’s possible to paint Bus Only lanes.
Those are the real equity positions, and city Democratic politicians who claim to care about low-income people should take them.