Yglesias

Reduce The Debt By Selling Congressional Parking Lots

I’ve long been infuriated by the quantity of valuable DC land currently being used as surface parking lots for congressional staff. But exactly how much free parking is there? Lydia DePillis reports that it’s a secret:

Seriously: After taking note of the many expanses of concrete available for Hill staffers across the Capitol complex, I asked the Committee on House Administration how many parking spaces it oversees, and how many permits it hands out (each office gets a certain number to divvy up). Apparently, that information would imperil the security of…I’m not sure what exactly. But something.

Selling this land to developers would reduce the national debt in a non-austerity kind of way. Rather than sucking economic activity out of the economy, it would spur activity as at least some of the land would be put to use as construction sites. Much of it would presumably continue to be used as parking lots for a while, with market rate pricing. Meanwhile, congressional staff can get metro passes if we want to give them some kind of free transit benefit.