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Congestion Pricing

Anti-Congestion Pricing Group Think Goes to the Next Level

2:28 PM PDT on May 14, 2008

Earlier this week a reader asked me why I write so many articles about congestion pricing and HOT Lanes. The insinuation was I was taking my cues from New York, where Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC dominated transportation discussions for over a year.

The truth is that I just happen to believe in congestion pricing and I've found that there is very little original thought or critical thinking that goes into a lot of the arguments against it. That's not to say that anyone that opposes congestion pricing is a dullard. Earlier today Tom Rubin had a thoughtful comment against Metro's proposal, but that the consistent pounding congestion pricing takes in the press is less the sign of a drumbeat against Metro's plans as it is an example of group thinking.

Take this op/ed by the Long Beach Press Telegram's Thomas Elias, who argues both the "there called FREEways for a reason," "the roads were already paid for with taxpayer dollars" and the "think of the poor" arguments. The exact same arguments, with similar wording and the same quote by Mayor Villaraigosa, appeared in Tim Rutten's column in the Times two weeks ago. Lest one think I'm accusing Elias of plagiarism, his piece does have these car culture warrior gems that Rutten's does not.

There was a time when politicians knew better than to get between Californians and their desire to drive...

...The bottom line: While its plain money can convince elected officials to do almost anything, voters should make it clear they will bounce, recall or otherwise take revenge on any politician who tries to bait and switch them in so fundamental a way as this.

Meanwhile over at CityWatch, Charles Tarlow, who at the very least can't be accused of group think because he's been opposed to HOT Lanes before it was on the mainstream press' radar, is upset that the City Council isn't returning his email about HOT Lanes. That they have no jurisdiction over HOT Lanes, excepting Councilman Parks who also sits on the Metro Board, doesn't seem to be a concern.

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