As a part of this blog, I'd like to toss out possible transit funding sources. These ideas are meant to spur ideas and thoughts about how to pay for the transit infrastructure that cities desperately need. Included in this discussion will be ways that the Feds can better fund and operate the New Starts program to support these other funding sources.
So today i'd like to throw out the first idea. A developer parking in lieu fee. Along major urban corridors in the United States, developers are facing a harsh reality. Parking spaces are required at suburban ratios along corridors that should be served by urban transit. There should be an exchange where parking spaces can be traded for transit money. So what would happen is a parking space costs a developer a certain amount of money, say 20,000 dollars in a very urban area. Usually a certain amount of spaces are required. So what if half of the spaces were required could be traded away for a half price solution. So if 50 spaces are required, then 25 of them could be traded for 50% of the cost meaning the developer builds 25 spaces but then pays $10,000 for each space he doesn't build into a capital fund for transit expansion. This single project would raise $250,000 for transit projects in the city and allow the developer to use the savings to build more housing or make the housing available more affordable. This solution has never been used to my knowledge in this fashion but its about time cities start looking at better ways to fund capital projects that will propel the transit space race forward.