Thursday, April 23, 2009

How About Something Besides Cars?

Quotes like these kill me.
"If you're late for work, and you might get fired if you're late one more time, it might be worth the (toll)," said Scott Haggerty, an Alameda County supervisor and commission chairman.
How about creating a transportation system that can get everyone to work at the same time every day?? I bet that would help more than paying a single toll because you're perpetually late.


Ben Ross said...

The claim that express toll lanes benefit all income groups is bogus. I get into the numbers in this article. My conclusion:

express toll lanes only modify the failed policy of subsidized highways so as better to preserve it. When it becomes impossible to keep traffic moving freely on all lanes, express lanes give an affluent minority the open roads that can no longer be provided for everyone. Tolls in this scheme are primarily an allocation mechanism, and only incidentally a source of revenue. Their purpose is to deter those less able to pay from using the new lanes.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with Ben. Counties, MTAs, and states that build toll lanes are filled with politicians that have no interest in keeping one thing or another going. They have an interest in keeping the constituents most important to them happy -- survivalism.

In fact, making people pay tolls that finance the roads they drive on is more than fair. I have no business financing the lifestyle that folks choose to live an unsustainable 15 or more miles away from work. If they don't want to pay the tolls, just move closer. If you can't afford Manhattan, Boston, DC, SOCAL rent, tough luck -- move to some other city where you can live near work, make more money, or agitate for affordable inner-city housing.

Again, why am I subsidizing your commute that keeps us beholden to despots and dictators, smogs the air, and leads to climate change? Pay the tolls or move closer.

fpteditors said...

Ben, you are correct, except a better word than "allocation" would be "rationing."
Anonymous: you are assuming that the policy would be applied fairly.

Anonymous said...

Highway-building in America has always been a sort of populist measure: the car gave mobility to everyone. Having toll express lanes means preferential treatment for those who can afford it, and goes against the spirit of American motoring.

wburg said...

Highway-building was a populist measure, but that doesn't mean it was for everyone--just for everyone who mattered at the time. Which was a rather small subset of "everyone." From their early days of motoring when most people didn't have cars (despite Ford's populism, cars were far from ubiquitous) to the mid-century period when the people using freeways for commuting were the white middle class not prohibited from owning property in suburban developments, American motorists' populism is based on a limited definition. Of course, when cars really did become universal, the populist image of effortless driving on gleaming freeways quickly shifted to rush-hour gridlock.

Lexus lanes may go against the perceived spirit of American motoring, but they are well within its traditional practice.

Anonymous said...

Though limited access highways are just that limited access and were built for the convenience of cars only. They should all be collecting tolls.

fpteditors said...

This movie is a must for understanding how the auto system developed:
Taken for a Ride