Congestion Pricing – Does it Work?

In this TreeHugger article (and the many links within it), the issue of Congestion Pricing is debated.  Recently, a plan to sting motorists an $8 fee to enter Lower Manhattan lost its momentum when the bill failed to receive enough backing to go through.  On the opposite side of the country, the debate is continuing with hopes to alleviate traffic congestion and emissions pollution in Los Angeles.

True enough, it’s nigh on impossible to get around greater Los Angeles without a car – well at the very least, a great inconvenience, even though public transport has improved greatly over the many years.  That said, it’s also nigh on impossible to get around without feeling like you’re trapped in a car park most of the way… and if you’ve opted for putting the window down to save on air-conditioning, chances are you’re consuming a big fat cocktail of exhaust fumes for your fine efforts.

So, to congestion fee or not to congestion fee?  And if not, how do we tackle the problem of congestion and pollution?  The negative opinion for charging a fee, is that the lower and middle class will be hit too hard and proposed rebates will not be a suitable solution for the ensuing hardship of the cost to these workers.  Will people really opt for an alternative to their car in a city that is so car-crazy and dependant?  

Personally, I’m not a fan of tolls – but then I’m not a fan of driving in a car park sipping carbon dioxide either.  Maybe it is a viable solution, but I don’t think it really solves the problem on a permanent and travel-friendly basis.  There are a gazillion people in Los Angeles and they need to get around, better fuel alternatives and improved infrastructure would be money better spent for a more permanent solution.

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Sofia Lockhart

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