Today’s Solutions: October 22, 2021

A key goal of public transportation is to reduce the number of cars on the road and therefore improve air quality and reduce emissions, especially in urban areas, but a small detail in the US federal tax code is actually working against this goal. The federal tax code has an exemption for employer-paid parking which subsidizes personal vehicle transportation. Repealing this tax exemption, or at least working around it, could be an easy solution for less crowded roads and cleaner skies.

Employers are quick to invest in tax-free subsidized parking for employees, but this not only increases the number of vehicles on the road but does so during peak commute hours. Furthermore, it rewards private vehicle drivers, while failing to reward those who choose to take public transportation.

Although it’s unlikely that this federal exemption will be repealed, auxiliary policies at the state and city level can help counteract its effects. For example, the District of Columbia enacted an amendment that requires companies with 20 or more employees who subsidize parking at work to offer an equal corresponding benefit to those employees who choose not to drive. This could be a credit to help pay for public transportation passes or financial compensation for those who bike or walk to work.

California has a similar policy in place and found that when all employees of eight companies were offered a benefit equal to free parking, private vehicle commuting dropped by 17 percent, carpooling increased 64 percent, and transit ridership increased 50 percent. The companies themselves reported that the change was easy and affordable to implement and helped them recruit and retain employees.

Although the equal parking benefit mandate slightly increases a company’s federal and state taxes, it has proven to be highly effective in incentivizing green methods of transportation for healthier communities and less congested roads. Anyone who lives in an urban area knows how tempting the reward of free parking can be. If we create equal incentives for greener methods of transportation, employees can continue to reap the maximum number of personal benefits while cutting down their personal footprint.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

FDA takes steps to authorize over-the-counter hearing aids

A new policy from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to make hearing aids more accessible and affordable in the US. The new policy will make hearing devices available over-the-counter as early as next ... Read More

California grants leatherback sea turtles further protection

For decades, the population of the great Pacific leatherback turtle off the California coast has declined by 5.6 percent per year. To address this devastating loss, California’s Fish and Game Commission recently voted to list ... Read More

This crisis alert app provides crucial information to residents of Kabul

As conditions in Kabul continue to worsen due to the Taliban takeover, residents of the Afghan capital have been struggling to get accurate real-time information about what’s happening in the city. Three and a half ... Read More

World record broken for coldest temperature ever recorded

With our current knowledge of how temperature works there is no upper limit, this means materials can keep getting hotter and hotter to no end. This is not the case for lower temperatures, with the ... Read More

The scientific power of live music

We’re all familiar with the sense of wonder and joy we experience when we hear a song or piece of music we love, but there’s something even more magical about hearing that song performed live. ... Read More

5 Healthy cooking oils for a plant-based diet

Finding the right oil for your diet is a crucial part of maintaining your health—and is especially important for those who stick to a vegan diet. To minimize some of the confusion you may face ... Read More