Bacon’s Rebellion notes that the wonky topic of road pricing has become a somewhat fashionable topic in Richmond. Even more wonkily, the article notes that congestion pricing actually attacks congestion, unlike the indirect approach of adding new capacity, and mentions the not-well understood notion that removing a few cars at peak hours could have a big impact on total congestion.
Says [Chris Saxman,] the Staunton businessman and [Republican] representative to the House of Delegates: “Stockholm can do it — and Sweden’s a socialist country!”
Even more interestingly, the feds are leading the charge:
Tyler Duvall, the deputy assistant secretary who oversees that initiative for the U.S. Department of Transportation, is an evangelist for congestion pricing. There is a disconnect, Duvall observed during a November 2005 forum on road pricing and travel demand modeling, between transportation agencies and roadway users… “Pricing can be a good way to take decisions on transportation investment out of the political realm and into the hands of the travelers, who ‘vote’ with their willingness to pay… Subsidizing the cost of travel allows road users to travel farther and more often, making the cost of living far away from one’s job artificially low and discouraging dense land use.”
The Department of Transportation has made it a high priority to establish a congestion-pricing demonstration project that combines the “four ‘t’s”: tolls in a variable pricing scheme, transit, as an alternative to cars, telecommuting/flex schedules, and technology in the form of expanded, real-time traffic information.
Hey, evil Bushies: how about picking me? Corridors like the Kennedy and Dan Ryan already integrate the necessary physical (barrier separated lanes), transit (parallel commuter and urban rail lines), tolling (EZ-Pass), and IT infrastructure. A formal flex schedule program (a la Flex in the City in Houston) hasn’t been established, but that’s not a problem.