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Susan Brooks

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How do we fix the sprawl?

I'm from Houston. Actually, just outside Houston, but near enough to it to make my point. I live in the suburbs. My city is very spawled. Once a city has already been built around the need of a car, how would/could that town "fix" the infrastructure to allow it to be more walkable? What's the first step? Who do I need to talk to in my local government to try to get these changes made?

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  • Nov 17 2013: To expand on previous remarks, A great way to bring about change is to bring market forces to bear. Currently in the United States, gasoline taxes only pay about 60% of the cost of maintaining our road infrastructure. This means the government is effectively subsidizing the price of gas, and of driving cars, thus making it less expensive for people to drive out to, and live in, the suburbs.

    So increasing gas taxes to fully pay for the price of maintaining roads, and requiring developers not just to build the roads, water systems, sewer treatment plants, libraries, and schools, etc., but to provide for operation and maintenance of all that infrastructure, would increase the cost of building and living in suburbs. Put another way, it would reduce urban dwellers' subsidies of suburbs, and thus slow suburban sprawl.

    With less profit incentive to develop outside the city, developers would be more likely to build up density, and thus walkability, in what are now suburbs. Q

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