Ridley-Thomas Introduces Congestion Pricing Legislation

10_2_08_thomas.jpgLocked in a tight battle for the Board of Supervisors seat held by Yvonne Burke with City Councilman Bernard Parks, State Senator Mark Ridley Thomas may have taken a risk by introducing S. 1422, the enabling legislation that will allow Metro to move forward with it’s plan to bring congestion pricing to Los Angeles.

While Thomas seems interested in seeing what congestion pricing can bring in the way of traffic relief to Los Angeles, he seems more interested in the over $210 million dollars in promised federal funds if Metro’s HOT Lanes plan moves forward.  Ridley-Thomas explains his position in The Planning Report.

Over the past several weeks I have had the opportunity to study one
of the most innovative technologies in transportation: the FastLanes
program. I’m convinced this “FastLane” project will deliver at least
three regional benefits: 1. traffic congestion relief, 2. economic
development and jobs, and 3. air quality improvement.

Los Angeles County has the opportunity to secure more than $210
million to test the concept of FastLanes as part of a national
directive to help major cities better manage their freeway capacity.
What more logical area than Los Angeles—the nation’s single most
congested city—to test this concept?

This funding is especially needed here given the region’s
extreme paucity of transportation resources, and would pay for much
more than just operation of toll lanes. The project is, in fact, a
comprehensive corridor improvement program that benefits everyone
throughout the region, regardless of whether or not they choose to pay
a toll.

While congestion pricing, even Metro’s watered down version which doesn’t address rush hour congestion, has been attacked by the press and politicians throughout LA County, Ridley-Thomas’ actual risk may not be as bad as it first appeared.  After all, Councilman Parks has voted in favor of Congestion Pricing studies in both his roles as a City Councilman and Metro Board Member.

Photo: Disability Rights Coalition

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