[Source: Sean Holstege, Arizona Republic, March 30, 2009] — Maybe you’ve heard of Tax Freedom Day, theoretically the date when Americans have worked enough to pay off their tax burden for the year. Researchers have now come up with Transportation Freedom Day, the date when an average household has paid off its annual costs of getting around in a particular city. For metro Phoenix, that day fell on March 23, but it’s different for each city in the region and across the country. Tempe residents cleared the typical cost of car payments, insurance, gas, repairs, and transit use on March 18. Residents in New River will keep paying until April 9.
Phoenix is in the middle of the pack for U.S. metro areas. Cheapest are San Francisco, with a March 1 freedom day, and New York (March 7). Tucson (March 30) is near the bottom.
The findings are based on research from the Center for Neighborhood Technology, an Illinois think tank that advocates sustainable urban development. Generally, cities with the most density, shortest commutes and most transit options fared best. People in far-flung suburbs generally fare the worst. [Note: To read the full article and online comments, click here.]