Nope, in their minds, if you toll it, they will come. Don't get me wrong. I think congestion pricing has merits in certain instances, but wholesale tolling of roads is dumb. Depending on a single mode of transport is dumb too. Didn't anyone ever tell them when they were kids that they couldn't eat steak all the time but needed bread, milk, fruits, and vegetables?
Given all this, I find it exceedingly strange that a group of conservative and libertarian-oriented think tanks — groups that argue for less government — have embraced highways and roads as a solution to traffic congestion and a general boon to living. In the same breath, they usually attack mass-transit spending, particularly on trains. They seem to see a highway as an expression of the free market and of American individualism, and a rail line as an example of government meddling and creeping socialism.
Among the most active of these groups is the Reason Foundation, a self-described libertarian nonprofit organization with a $7 million budget that has its own transportation wing. Some typical highway-oriented papers on Reason's Web site include "How to Build Our Way Out of Congestion" and "Private Tollways: How States Can Leverage Federal Highway Funds." Rail transit is taken on in papers with titles such as "Myths of Light Rail Transit," and "Rethinking Transit 'Dollars & Sense': Unearthing the True Cost of Public Transit." I didn't see any papers about unearthing the true cost of our public highway network.
H/T The Political Environment