Political economists will tell you that a viable tax is one that burdens many people very little (e.g., sales tax) while benefiting a narrow constituency (e.g., construction firms or defense contractors). The taxed don't put up a fight and the beneficiaries make sure the tax passes. The Economist recently published an opinion piece that suggests the popular-amongst-economists land value tax (particularly because of its value capture potential and non-distorting attributes) is infrequently used in practice because it burdens a minority (in this case, land owners) and its benefits are widely felt (that could be argued but their description makes it work). We'll be looking out for a response from the Lincoln Land Institute!
Ian Carlton is a transportation and land use expert specializing in transit-oriented development (TOD). He helps clients - including transit agencies, planning departments, and landowners - optimize real estate development around transit.
Special thanks to Burt Gregory at Mithun for permission to use the Portland Streetcar image above.