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Congestion Pricing

Bipartisan Pandering on Congestion Pricing

9:40 AM PDT on May 13, 2008

Three Democratic Congress Members, Grace Napolitano of Santa Fe Springs, Hilda Solis of El Monte and Diane Watson of Los Angeles, have joined a pair of suburban Republicans in sponsoring federal legislation that would effectively end Metro’s efforts to put HOT Lanes on the 10, 110 and 210 highways.

Bi-partisan or not, the Members of Congress are showing a lack of understanding of both congestion pricing and the process going forward.

The Whittier Daily News quotes Solis as saying:

This plan could transfer traffic from the freeways to our residential neighborhoods, posing significant and unnecessary safety and public health risks.

The effect of moving a significant amount of traffic off the highways and on to surface streets, the Solis Effect, has never been documented in cases where congestion pricing has gone into effect.  If Solis had done her research, she would have found that congestion pricing actually improves public health by reducing congestion and air pollution.Of course, understanding the relationship between car culture and pollution would require actually admitting that there’s something unhealthy about driving cars.  A thought alien to residents of third world countries, the Daily News and Members of Congress.Solis goes on:

Rather than rush this plan through the process, the MTA should allow the public an opportunity to learn more about it and discuss its potential impacts.

Metro’s HOT Lanes proposal has to be approved by both houses of the state legislature and the California Transportation Commission before the end of this year.  Solis’ statement shows she either doesn’t understand the process or believes that the United States Congress is the best place to debate local issues.If federal lawmakers want to oppose Metro’s HOT Lanes plan, they should offer an alternative.  If they want to deny Metro the funding for additional buses and park-and-rides they had best be working on earmarks to get LA County the funds to replace the funds they lost.


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