Congestion pricing pilots

…move forward without Chicago, of course. Over $1B in federal funding will be allocated to five cities nationwide to launch or expand congestion pricing projects under the Urban Partnerships Program. One of those five will probably be NYC; Ray Rivera in the Times writes that “Ms. Peters heaped lavish praise on the mayor’s [cordon toll] plan, calling it brave, bold and long overdue.” (The NY Academy of Sciences has a terrific briefing on the London congestion charge and Bloomberg’s proposal.) So yes, the feds are heaping money on cities so that they can access a new/expanded revenue stream of tolls. This is absolutely a no-brainer.

Denver’s proposal would extend I-25’s existing HOT lanes up US36/Boulder Pike and use the revenue to expedite BRT improvements to RTD’s existing B route; this expands on a concept introduced to local commuters with HOT express lanes on I-25.

Of course, the Kennedy Expressway has a nearly identical situation to I-25; simply adding a few I-PASS transponders and cameras would reduce congestion and generate millions of dollars in revenue for Blue Line repairs. (CMAP’s ultimate proposal included $100M in Blue Line repairs [“upgraded to eliminate slow zones caused by deteriorating infrastructure… {it} has experienced a degradation in service in recent years”], but only increases tolls on the ISTHA and Skyway portions of I-90 without adding new tolls on the Kennedy or Dan Ryan despite the existence of significant congestion and barrier separated facilities. Similarly, it references raising Chicago’s existing paid off-street parking tax, but not anything about street parking prices. Buried on the last page is a reference to a $1.6M bike rental station, too; I’ll have to find out more about that.)

“We’re asking cities to try something different, innovative and daring when it comes to fighting traffic,” said Secretary Peters.

“Different, innovative and daring” — nope, not Chicago.

FWIW, other cities’ proposal documents:
The Twin Cities would expand an existing network of HOT lanes using shoulder lanes, significantly accelerate implementation of proposed suburban BRT corridors, and explore parking pricing.

In the Bay Area, several existing HOT pilot schemes, the 511 system, and parking re-pricing in San Francisco and Berkeley.

3 thoughts on “Congestion pricing pilots

  1. Sick Transit Chicago points out a Sun-Times wire article by John Roszkowski on an ISTHA study of congestion pricing on its roads — and on freeways and arterials. Who knew that ISTHA could save the day? Meanwhile, even though this major loss of federal funding received almost no attention in this region, it apparently has galvanized LA County MTA into adding tolls. Expect HOT lanes throughout LA by 2010. Rong-Gong Lin II and Steve Hymon in the LA Times:

    Transportation experts said they were surprised that L.A.’s resistance to considering the concept dropped so quickly. They believe it probably was tied to recent revelations that federal officials passed over L.A. for transportation grants because the county’s grant proposal had no congestion pricing component. “I’ll be darned,” said Genevieve Giuliano, director of the National Center for Metropolitan Transportation Research at USC. “It’s so difficult to get consensus … to do anything different in Los Angeles.”

  2. Who needs federal start-up grants, anyhow? Just outside the District, Virginia has proposed two major new uses of road pricing.

    The 50% local match for the proposed Metrorail extension to Dulles is being funded through fancy financial footwork that harken back to the two old-fashioned ways of transport funding: user fees and value capture. (PDF of PPT) In this case, Dulles Toll Road tolls will pay 25% and local governments (largely via TIFs, called SIDs there) will pay about 20%.

    To the southeast of the Dulles Toll Road, the PPP managing expansion/extension of the reversible center lanes on I-95/395 estimates the project will generate nearly $400 million for transit improvements in the corridor, including commuter rail and express buses.

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