The cost of driving 'til you qualify


Although it’s great that you are talking about the housing issue, one sweeping statement — “Don’t blame water or oil for the cul de sac’s decline. Blame creative financing.” — is skirting the fact that, yes, transportation costs (and hence oil) play a key role in many people losing their homes (HCN, 4/30/07).

According to the Center for Housing Policy, for every dollar saved by moving to a house that’s affordable but away from a job, a family pays 77 cents to cover additional transportation costs (buying a car, maintenance, gas, insurance, parking). In 2005, the average Colorado family spent 29 percent of their income on housing and 29 percent on transportation. That means that a family earning $40,000 a year spent $23,200 on housing and transportation.

Transportation costs do play a key role in housing, and in this crisis, people are losing housing. If you have to drive 50 miles a day for work because the housing you could afford was out there in the suburbs, you don’t get much of a choice. Oil plays a role and — at $3 a gallon — even more so.

James Balliett
> Erie, Colorado