December 10, 2017

WE ARE ALL NEOCONOMIST NOW:

VIRGINIA'S $40 TOLL ROAD BETTER BE THE FUTURE OF DRIVING (Aaarian Marshall, 12/09/17, Wired)

The express lanes on Interstate 66 near DC, previously reserved for vehicles carrying two or more people, opened up to solo travelers. Except those single-occupancy vehicles have to pay a toll, one that fluctuates according to demand. The world watched, aghast, as tolling prices hit $40 for folks headed into the capital on Tuesday morning.

Yes, that's a crazy amount of money. But as the nation struggles to pay for its not-so-great infrastructure--and waits on the Trump administration to release a funding plan for our roads, bridges, and transit--this sort of congestion pricing is looking pretty great.

The nice thing about congestion charges isn't just that they can encourage people to take public transit, or at least to carpool, but that they make drivers pay for their role in creating traffic and spewing greenhouse gases. Forty bucks is a lot for a toll, but it just might be the fair price for the right to drive by yourself down a majorly busy highway. The scourge we know as traffic costs the American economy about $125 billion to traffic per year, according to traffic analytics company Inrix.

Places like London, Norway, Singapore, and Sweden have successfully implemented such schemes. American cities in California, Washington, Colorado, Texas, Minnesota, and elsewhere have used express lanes and congestion charges to alleviate traffic and raise extra money.

Paying for your own externalities is simple tax justice.

Posted by at December 10, 2017 8:41 AM

  

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