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Recognizing the total value of railways

October 12, 2008

That’s the title of an article by David Burns in the September Railway Gazette International.  A long list of benefits which accrue to the community, such as reduced energy consumption, land use advantages, easier commutes, and cheaper freight rates, are noted.  “Increased land values” are noted as a benefit but unfortunately there is no mention that these land values incorporate all the other benefits.  A “property tax” and transfer taxes are among the methods proposed to collect these community benefits.  Railways generally cannot cover their full capital and operating costs from revenues they receive for carrying freight and passengers.

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