Taxpayers pay for trucking subsidies

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

From an article by Luke Rosiak on Dr. Gridlock:

Moving freight via truck shifts far more of the costs onto taxpayers than does other modes of shipping, according to an analysis by the government's financial watchdog.

By investing in certain forms of infrastructure, the government essentially makes that form cheaper, thereby encouraging its use. But a smart investment, and the wisest use of taxpayer dollars, would encourage use of the most efficient mode.

"If government policy gives one mode a cost advantage over another, by, for example, not
recouping all the costs of that mode's use of infrastructure, then shipping prices and customers' use of freight modes can be distorted, reducing the overall efficiency of the nation's economy," the Government Accountability Office said.

The GAO's analysis of data across several government agencies found that costs associated with trucking that were not borne by the companies actually doing the shipping were "at least 6 times greater than rail costs and at least 9 times greater than waterways costs per million ton miles of freight transport. Most of these costs were external costs imposed on society."