QOTD: Is Congestion Pricing a Good Idea?


New York City has put off its congestion-pricing plan indefinitely.

Though I live halfway across the country, I am glad that the governor of New York has put the kibosh on this, at least for the moment. While I am all for reducing traffic and congestion and the environmental damage it does, as well as improving pedestrian safety and encouraging the use of public transportation, I don’t think congestion pricing is the right approach.

I don’t love the idea of taxing commuters who have no choice but to drive — public transit doesn’t work for everyone, and that’s true even with NYC’s generally comprehensive subway system. I also can foresee a scenario in which delivery companies pass prices onto businesses and consumers. New York City is expensive enough — imagine paying even more for dinner because it costs restaurants more to have food delivered?

It also appears that cabs and Ubers wouldn’t have been exempt from the scheme. There’s no doubt rideshare companies and cab companies would’ve passed that cost onto riders — and taxi prices have already gotten expensive. I was shocked how much more a cab from LaGuardia to Midtown was when I was in town for the New York Auto Show, compared to just a few years ago.

Not to mention the potential privacy issues that crop up when it comes to the technology needed to make congestion pricing work.

On the other hand, congestion is a huge problem not just in NYC but in most cities in this country. I experience it regularly here in Chicago. If we can get more people onto public transit or into rideshares, we can unclog our roads and reduce pollution.

Maybe I am wrong, though — maybe congestion pricing would deter people from driving into congested city centers without a good reason. Or maybe I am right, and there are other, better solutions to our traffic woes.

What say you? Sound off below.

[Image: Fahroni/Shutterstock.com]

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