Policymakers and budgetary analysts have long argued that roads are heavily subsidized. The diffusion of spending among federal, state, and local government entities, along with the complexity of indirect costs, make it difficult to understand the fully loaded cost of the vehicle economy. Individual families may track the personal costs of car ownership to their budgets, but they rarely consider the total cost of operating and maintaining the vehicle economy because the vast majority of roads and parking areas are provided free at the point of use. This study is intended to increase transparency regarding road-related spending and to provide a comprehensive estimate of the economic cost of Massachusetts’ vehicle economy.
Olson, Stevie, Phil Berkaw, Lucien Charland, Elizabeth Patton, and Linda J. Bilmes. "The $64 Billion Massachusetts Vehicle Economy." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP19-038, December 2019.