I always like to see when someone with lots more information and better credentials than me comes to the same conclusion on an issue that I have come to. In this case it is Michael R. Brown stating that Congestion-pricing positives outweigh negatives. Mr. Brown is a Certified Transportation Planner and he has been participating in a study on the issue of implementing congestion pricing along the Wasatch Front. One thing he does that I have never thought about is to define the fundamental difference between standard tolls and congestion pricing:
The purpose of tolls is to provide revenue to pay off construction bonds. You pay even when there is no congestion. It amounts to unfair taxation. The purpose of congestion pricing is primarily to ensure the freeways do not fall below 60 mph. At times or places where that wouldn’t be an issue, then the price can be free. (emphasis added)
Secondly he provides his personal top 10 list for the advantages of using congestion-pricing:
- (10) More use of off-peak capacity
- (9) Increased transit usage
- (8) Increased capacity
- (7) Reduction of side-street spill-over
- (6) Point A becomes closer to point B
- (5) Fuel is saved, air quality improved and carbon dioxide reduced
- (4) Economic competitiveness
- (3) “Tragedy of commons” is avoided
- (2) Generates revenue.
- (1) More productivity
I like the list he presents except that #6 seems a bit ethereal to me. (This comment seems to be a good clarification of #6.) If you don’t like his list I would recommend reading his version (which includes some explanations) before settling on an opinion.