Finding a Better Path, Literally!

Corrie Clark- Honorbound

When I was little I went to Bachman Lake all the time, and if I was lucky, I would see a plane fly over my head on one of our family walks. But now in the past years there is no such thing as a serene walk without about five plans shooting right over your head making you jump. With the expiration of the Wright Amendment in Dallas, Southwest Airlines was able to increase the number of direct flights in and out of Love Field Airport, which benefited travelers and the airline business, but harmed the surrounding community by causing negative effects such as traffic, air and noise pollution.

Charles Wheelan states in Naked Economics, “The market, left alone, will do nothing to fix this problem. In fact, the market “fails” in the sense that it encourages individuals and firms to cut corners in ways that make society worse off as a result” [1].  This statement describes the importance that a solution is created for an externality because they cannot fix themselves. The gap between the private costs and social costs of certain behaviors must be closed. Although no plan has been put into action yet there has been a committee formed called the Master Plan Advisory Committee. This committee has begun to monitor traffic, especially near the Mockingbird Ln and Cedar Springs Rd intersection, set up a noise control program, and set up an air quality program [2]. There is not an easy way to fix the noise pollution or air traffic from the planes without restricting the number of gates in the airport. However there is a possible way to fix the traffic and consequently the air pollution from the excessive traffic. In order to internalize the costs to fix the externality, one must take into account the costs to the surrounding community members, the collection of new travelers, Love Field and the City of Dallas.

A plausible plan would be to build a separate road just for the airport and unaffiliated from other civilian streets. Because there is no room to do so, a possible idea is to create a tunneled road below Mockingbird [3]. This would be easier for both the travelers and the surrounding public as it will separate the flow of cars through that area. But the City of Dallas or Love Field cannot simply pay for this construction by themselves. This is where incentives come in. Step one would be to lower the property values in the neighborhoods around Love Field therefore lowering their taxes giving them the benefit of living close to the airport. This will keep and attract property owners in what is perceived as an undesirable location. Next, the Love Field Airport could place a tax on the tickets, creating a new revenue for the City of Dallas/Love Field. This new revenue along with the surrounding neighborhoods new supply of money can both be used to fund the construction of the underground road for the airport. The community will spend the extra money in order to stop the extra commotion and the travelers will still pay the extra tax on tickets just for the convenience that Love Field provides. So in the end the externality would be fixed as the growth of Love Field would have positive effects on all.

 

[1] Charles Wheelan, Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2010), 34.

[2] Xecutive. “Airport Impact Analysis/Master Plan Dallas Love Field.” Airport Impact Analysis (n.d.): n. pag. Dallas-lovefield.com. Web. <http://www.dallas-lovefield.com/pdf/ExecutiveSummary.pdf&gt;.

[3] @dallasnews. “Dallas Considers ‘tunnelling’ Mockingbird in Front of Love Field as Traffic Increases at City-owned Airport | Dallas City Hall | Dallas News.” Dallas News. N.p., 31 Oct. 2014. Web. 19 Oct. 2016. <http://www.dallasnews.com/news/dallas-city-hall/2014/10/31/dallas-considers-tunnelling-mockingbird-in-front-of-love-field-as-traffic-increases-at-city-owned-airport&gt;.

 

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