Arlington GOP Rails Against Inadequate Regulatory Subsidies For Motorists

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"Arlington GOP Rails Against Inadequate Regulatory Subsidies For Motorists"

This anti-bicycle screed from the blog of the Arlington Country GOP is noteworthy for explicitly complaining that the incumbent Democrats have engaged in “failure to require adequate parking at new development projects.”

The main crux of their complaint is that a handful of additional on-street parking places for automobiles are being removed in order to “install even more subsidized rental bicycles along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor” but here, too, the free market logic is lacking. After all, physical space in this corridor is extremely expensive. Far and away the largest subsidy Capital Bikeshare receives from the Arlington Country government is precisely the provision of space. But the alternate use for that space was as automobile parking. So we’re not talking about any net increase in subsidy, we’re talking about shifting a tiny proportion of the space currently set aside as a subsidy to drivers and repurposing it as a subsidy for bicycles. Even with the new stations up and running, the amount of space dedicated to on-street parking will still dwarf the space dedicated to bicycle sharing. And that’s even though subsidies to drivers are regressive and encourage worse air pollution and public health outcomes.

It’s all just a reminder that sincere devotion to free markets plays almost no role in economic policy debates. It’s identity politics all the way down.

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