Taking the “free” out of freeways

Following the lead of cities like London, LA is considering a “congestion tax” on freeways (which would of course, make them simply highways. Curbed LA mentioned as much last week and the LA Times reports further today. The idea behind congestion pricing is to charge drivers for using roads in the busiest parts of town during the busiest hours. Bloomberg has been pushing for congestion pricing in New York, and now Villaraigosa has come out in favor of the idea as well. There is talk of introducing toll roads at LAX first to encourage people to take public transportation to the airport. The Times does admit that, at present, there really isn’t public transportation that serves most folks who need to fly out of LAX. But hey, since when has reality interfered with city planning in LA? Clearly, without intervention of some kind, traffic is only going to get worse. Palmdale and Lancaster both rank among the twenty-five most rapidly growing cities in the country and it shocks none of us to learn that LA proper has made number one on the list of most congested cities already. But congestion pricing is an idea that works best in cities that offer a viable alternative to driving, and LA, sad to say, is not yet among them.

8 Replies to “Taking the “free” out of freeways”

  1. If public transport were practical, a “congestion tax” might be justified. But until then, it’s a penalty we have to pay simply because of bad civil planning.

  2. So, what about folks like me who live near the airport? Will I be “congestion taxed” for driving home? Since I work downtown, I’d probably be taxed coming and going…

  3. Gary, the plan wouldn’t effect you as the toll booth would be placed before entering the terminal areas… (unless you actually live IN the airport, in which case you must look like Tom Hanks).

    However, I think adding tolls to certain roads within LA makes much more sense than charging more for public transportation – although taxing people coming in and out of LAX seems like a bad place to start – getting in and out of the airport is slow enough as is, and while charging people may encourage some people to use the shuttle, the additional travel time required to take said shuttle would make travel even less friendly.

  4. The flyaway is great. And it’s really nice to see it expanding to new areas. It’s only $3 or so. You can barely buy a coffee for that these days.

  5. anyone who supports tollroards has never lived in a city WITH tollroads. once they are built they exist solely to support the trolls who work there, including the fat cats at the top who lord over the unionized worker bees… corruption runs rampant and traffic backs up, not to mention the big brother aspect of the rfid tags… its a HORRIBLE idea!!!

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