Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pondering the effects of a gas tax

Which undoubtedly will not happen in the next 5 years:

1. If I now drive to big box stores 15-20 miles away, would I reconsider doing this with a large enough tax? What happens to the big box stores? A demise or would they move into the city? The experience of Bangkok seems to be that they may move into a city - if we consider that traffic jams are a tax. Or would a tax bring back more mom and pop stores?

2. What about school and work? Would enrollments in private schools drop if the costs of transportation were higher? My impression is that in the Washington DC area, most of the congestion comes from parents/caregivers having to drive their kids to schools even when they can walk to a public school (this is certainly true for us!). Would more white collar jobs that are now in suburban/exurban areas move closer in? This would be great if it could provide a chance for higher earnings for inner city folks. The decisions that go into commuting, work, and school and extremely complicated and it doesn't appear that much research has gone into this in terms of possible labor reallocation. Most of the work concerns traffic!

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