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Congestion Pricing - Are you for or against it?

13

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  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,013
    “Any balanced analysis will surely prove that the taxpayer actually pays, for every person who chooses to drive to and from work in his own car, an indirect subsidy at least 10 times as great as the indirect subsidy now paid the mass-transit rider.”

    The Man Who Could Unsnarl Manhattan Traffic (Wired)

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,420
    That is *very* interesting but also a bit chilling in that we have all seen what sometimes happens when you take an Excel spreadsheet and apply it to real life.

    There is a kind of "emergent intelligence" to big city life that I don't think can be captured by statistical analysis. "it" works out its best solutions.

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  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    How many people does the NYC mass transit system move each day? How many people personally drive within or thru NYC? One more question - what would it could cost today to build and staff the NYC mass-transit system?

    OK take those numbers now and figure out how much it would cost to provide everyone in NYC public transportation. Would that number be $100B, to get mass transit up to the task in NYC? Plus $10B/year to run it?

    What happens to the NYC transit system when the 1st terrorist bomb goes off in it? It seems just a matter of time. The system is crippled, and the added security would make the screening of that many additional people impossible.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,420
    There is no sure defense against terrorism. That's why they call it "terrorism".

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  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    Right. My point there is mass transit is a centralized system, and as such is susceptible to terrorist attack - all your eggs in 1-basket analogies ... Privately owned and controlled vehicles do not have that issue.

    I believe the government should separate the funding for roads, highways and bridges from mass transit, and allow each system to pay for itself. Then each system can pay its true costs to operate. I know here in NH we are paying quite a bit in gas-taxes, some of which goes for mass transit, and we may have a handful of buses operating in a few towns. So our gas tax money is going to support mass transit users in cities like Boston and NYC. But then again the state of Mass. should be reimbursing the fed. government for most of the cost overruns of the Big Dig.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,420
    Ah but then the oil companies should be made to pay for all the environmental costs associated with the selling of their product. That would probably drive up the price of gas to its true value in the USA, and by doing so, encourage mass transit development. This certainly seems to have happened in Europe, where mass transit is superb.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,515
    Do European fuel prices really have to do with the "costs" of oil, or simply as a way to subsidize the fantastic public transit network?

    That thought being said, gas would have to cost 4x as much here as in Europe to get anything like the transit networks they have, as residential development has been so thoughtlessly distant from commerce for so many decades.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,420
    edited May 2010
    I really don't know. That's a good question. All I know is that Europeans pay higher taxes and get a lot for them. I seem to pay quite a bit of tax and wonder where it all went. My mass transit STINKS and my libraries are closing up and we don't have nearly enough cops.

    I'd certainly pay extra for a really great public transit system. Right now, to travel 85 miles in California doesn't cost very much in public transit but it takes 3.5 hours to do it. 22 mph is not all that much faster than people traveled in Roman times or in the 1860s in America.

    And driving is getting pretty brutal...if it isn't traffic, you have to worry about being picked off by massive Highway Patrol efforts to increase revenues.

    Whenever I drive on Hwy 17 anymore, I feel like one of those bomber fleets going over Germany, trying to dodge the CHP. We all know that about 1 to 3% of us are going to get shot down every mission. :cry:

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,515
    edited May 2010
    I don't think European gas prices have anything to do with the environmental or social impacts of fossil fuels. The taxes simply subsidize other programs. Nothing wrong with that. I too would pay for a system like they have - but it would cost a lot more here as in most places residential density is just so much less. I can't imagine having a transit network in my area like can be found in Munich or Zurich, or even Stuttgart or Luzern, where some vehicle is running within 5 mins walk no more than once every 10 mins, from 5am to midnight.

    We receive less for the taxes we pay than others as we have massive defense and foreign obligations and parasites sucking us dry - not to mention domestic issues like public sector perks and pensions. We pay a lot less, but we get so much less.

    Driving here is a nightmare too - most cities ardently refuse to synchronize lights and work on traffic controls, roads are second-world quality at best, traffic law enforcement is 90% a ridiculous money grab, and oblivious driving seems to be encouraged. My in-town afternoon commute can often average under 15mph per my car - and that's on 35-40mph roads...speeds go down when you hit every red light and get stuck in a line behind idiots going 28 in a 40. I wonder if anything would change if the money put into speedtrapping and cameras was put into improving traffic flow...and if public sector traffic "engineers" were held to any level of accountability. On that note, I have to be suspicious of this "congestion charge" proposal, given the lack of results provided by its supporters in other traffic-related areas. I also wonder about the impartiality when presented by a bicycle enthusiast/advocate. Remember the third type of lie.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,420
    A major part of the problem is psychological. Our national mythology is not the same as Europe's. To us, when a person steps on a bus or train, they are a "loser" at worst, or a worker drone at best. This is simply not the social attitude of the European. The myth of "freedom" has been drilled into our heads since the 1840s, and while very romantic and kinda fun, it works against social cooperation when things get tight or tough. Only drastic situations like a war or disaster changes American attitudes, and then it goes right back to Davy Crockett as soon as the crisis passes.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,515
    I've never understood how "freedom" can be considered owning a big mortgage on a tract mcmansion 30 miles from work. It's that development philosophy that makes workable mass transit impossible.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,013
    People don't realize that you don't own stuff ... it owns you.

    As far as terrorism, take out a couple of bridges or a tunnel (or a refinery or two) and you shut down car and traffic and hammer the economy in a flash.

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  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,320
    I believe the government should separate the funding for roads, highways and bridges from mass transit, and allow each system to pay for itself. Then each system can pay its true costs to operate.

    Agree, as it is worse in WA where the road taxes paid in Spokane subsidize the Puget Sound Ferry System so a few can enjoy the pleasures of Island Living. So besides using gasoline taxes for MT the vote here is to float the boat as well. Dumb.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,515
    Not to mention the compensation abuses of several ferry workers...have you watched the stories on KING5 lately? Appalling.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,515
    You mean "freedom" isn't defined by a Mexican-built Escalade, and a questionably built 5000 sq ft mcmansion made of the finest Chinese drywall, plywood, and face brick located an eon from work?

    No infrastructure is immune from terrorism.

    I do have to wonder...London has embraced the congestion charge ideal for some time (I think hybrids and microcars are exempt), has it helped their woes at all?
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,013
    edited May 2010
    Well, they've created a new industry for themselves at least:

    London Ready to Assist Jakarta Solve Traffic Problem (BeritaJakarta.com)

    Traf-O-Data is how Bill Gates got his start. :)

    The London mayor was stung last year with a fine for not paying his congestion fee. His response has been to shrink the congestion zone. Fees for the remaining zone are up $2 and a free pass if you drive a low emission vehicle. Mixed bag of responses.

    Boris Johnson unveils plans to scrap western extension of London congestion charge (Guardian UK)

    Big shake up of London Congestion Charge (What Car).

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  • dave8697dave8697 Posts: 1,498
    I really enjoyed having 300 feet to my closest neighbor's house at my last place.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    the oil companies should be made to pay for all the environmental costs associated with the selling of their product.

    They already do pay for as much environmental impact as coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy do. All our main energy sources have environmental impact.

    That would probably drive up the price of gas to its true value in the USA, and by doing so, encourage mass transit development.

    And what would replace the $40B that Exxon-Mobil alone pays the feds in taxes each year/ And take away all the other income and dividend taxes that the owners of oil companies pay. Mass transit AFAIK is a money loser most everywhere.

    I'm all for mass transit, and natural-gas replacing heating oil to heta my house. But tell me how much it's going to cost to have the bus come up my dead-end road every 1/2 hour in case I want to go somewhere? Tell me why the gas company's gas-line doesn't run tio my city of 20,000, stopping 30 miles short?
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    As far as terrorism, take out a couple of bridges or a tunnel (or a refinery or two) and you shut down car and traffic and hammer the economy in a flash

    No you don't. That's been proven when earthquakes or bridge failures have occurred. Personal auto transportation is inconvenienced, but the next day everyone is getting where they are going. Set off a bomb in the NYC subway system 2 days in a row, and the millions that use it would need to be screened, and people would avoid it for months, just like what happened with airports after 9/11.

    Centralized systems are much more vulnerable, then decentralized.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,013
    There's only 12 bridges and tunnels serving Manhattan. I don't think the ferries could handle it if the George Washington was knocked out of service for a while - well, there's no car ferries there anyway, right? Big economic impact. Be more room for the buses and cabs on the surface streets though.

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