DC Skyscrapers Would Be A Great Way To Pay For New Metro Tunnels

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Jan. 24 2013 12:08 PM

DC Skyscrapers Would Be A Great Way To Pay For New Metro Tunnels

1359046497017

Washington's Metro Transit Authority is out with its latest ambitious wish list of projects, including a pair of new tunnels under the main portions of Washington DC (see cool Washington Post map reproduced in shrunken form above). Such projects would be very useful on their own terms and also increase the value of the existing rail infrastructure by creating a broader, more useful overall network. But they'd also be expensive to build. WMATA says the north-south leg would cost $2.7 billion while the east-west leg would cost $3.3 billion. And, naturally, WMATA has no particular idea where they might find $6 billion.

But I do!

Advertisement

Restrictions on the height of buildings in the DC central business district cost the city billions per year in lost economic activity. Rescind the Height of Buildings Act—not just in a tweak around the edges way, but in an honest-to-god skyscrapers way—but charge a fee to get permission to build high. That direct revenue can pay for the new infrastructure, infrastructure that will conveniently support more density. The much increased levels of employment and retail activity that would be associated with a denser central business district, meanwhile, will replenish the District's general coffers for years to come.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Propublica
Oct. 17 2014 4:21 PM Why the Poor Pay $1,400 for Old iPads #MuckReads: A weekly roundup of investigative reporting from ProPublica.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
  Life
Outward
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 1:54 PM Republican Midterm Debate Strategy: Be Pro-Life, But Not Anti-Abortion
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 19 2014 7:30 AM Persistence Pays Off: The Smoking Trail of a Shooting Star
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.