Read the chart. And, no, highways don't pay for themselves. Also there are large negative externalities associated with driving that militate in favor of making drivers subsidize transit users (or pedestrians, cyclists, etc.) rather than the reverse.

UPDATE: Of course you can't bring this subject up without legions of people informing you that the gas tax pays for the highways. This simply isn't true. All the funds raised by the gas tax are spent on highways, and then a bunch of additional money is also spent on highways. It's exactly the same as with transit, financed by a mix of user fees and subsidies in order to encourage the economic benefits of infrastructure investment. But one kind of investment is better for the environment and for public health. So naturally we give the other kind radically more money.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to