Thursday, March 28, 2019

The congestion pricing fantasy

Scott Wiener (photo Dyami Serna, SFBC) 

Front page story on congestion pricing in yesterday's SF Chronicle:

But as tempting as that kind of money is to some California politicians and traffic experts, congestion pricing is likely to be a tough sell in San Francisco, Los Angeles or elsewhere in the state anytime soon, even though those cities are considering such proposals. Currently, it’s illegal for California cities to tack fees onto busy public roads to generate money for mass transit. And politicians who have tried to change those laws in recent years have failed.

They've failed because it's a very unpopular idea. Every San Francisco Chamber of Commerce poll, including the latest, has found that at least 65% of city residents oppose the idea of paying $3-$6 to drive downtown in their own city, not to mention how devastating that would be for retail and restaurant businesses downtown. 

Popular opposition to congestion pricing has polled as high as 78%.

This paragraph made me laugh:

San Francisco is contemplating tolls in four areas: downtown, the entry and exit points to Treasure Island, the 500-foot curvy stretch of Lombard Street, and a set of proposed express lanes connecting the city to San Mateo County. Each of these proposals has drawn opposition. A recent poll by the Chamber of Commerce showed that residents have little appetite for the added expense: 65 percent of people surveyed opposed the idea of a $3 toll to drive into the northeastern part of the city; 30 percent approved of it; and 5 percent were undecided.

The Treasure Island toll would supposedly mitigate the traffic problem created by City Hall's dumb development project that will allow 20,000 residents on the island that now has a population of 3,000!

Also laughable is the idea of charging people from San Mateo County for the privilege of driving into the very special San Francisco! I understand that recreational marijuana is now legal in San Francisco, but surely people in City Hall shouldn't indulge while they're on the job. 

When dumb public policy is being discussed, you can count on Scott Wiener, long a supporter of congestion pricing, to pile on:

“It’s challenging,” said state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, who cosponsored Bloom’s bill last year. “People just aren’t used to paying for the cost of driving,” he added, referring to what it costs to build and maintain roads, not for gas and tuneups. Wiener said he’s committed to carrying a new congestion-pricing bill next year that would generate money for public transit and infrastructure. “Sustainable transportation can’t just be about torturing people out of their cars,” he said. “It has to be about giving them other great options.”

Wiener and Donald Trump share a hyperbolic rhetorical style. What "other great options" does he have in mind? High-speed rail? Bicycles? Tunnels?

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At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Mr. Weenie the cost to build and maintain roads has always been covered by vehicle registration fees. The cost is now high because of your expensive useless redesign projects. How about charging the bike riders that don't exist a fee?

At 4:57 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

My "redesign projects"? Care to clarify what you're talking about?

At 5:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Weiner is coddling of real-estate developers just as another gay lawyer Roy Cohn once coddled a "brash young would-be developer from Queens".

At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Your redesign projects"

No relation to you. I was speaking to Mr Weenie. I could have worded it better. Sorry about that.

At 6:26 PM, Blogger Mark Kaepplein said...

Guess who thinks congestion pricing is a great idea?


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