Los Angeles, CA

LA proposed "congestion pricing" will charge drivers to use public roads paid for by their taxes

Lashaun Turner

Los Angeles Freeway Signs: Congestion pricingPhoto byPexels.com

Not so free freeways? Officials float idea of adding new fees to L.A. highways

Congestion pricing is a strategy that charges drivers a fee to enter or travel within a congested area. The objective is to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality. The hope is, congestion pricing would encourage drivers to carpool, take public transit, bike, or walk instead of driving.

California has some of the most congested roads in the United States. There are a number of reasons for this congestion, including:

  • Population growth: California's population has been growing rapidly in recent years, and this growth has put a strain on the state's transportation infrastructure.
  • Increased reliance on cars: Californians are more likely to drive than people in other states. This is due in part to the state's geography, which makes it difficult to get around without a car.
  • Lack of investment in public transportation.
  • Poor planning: California's transportation system was not designed to handle the current level of congestion. This is due in part to the state's rapid growth, and in part to poor planning decisions that were made in the past.

Californians pay some of the highest gas taxes in the country. In 2022, the state's gas tax was 51.1 cents per gallon. This tax is supposed to be used to fund transportation projects.

Congestion pricing is an additional tax. Californians already pay a high percentage of their income in taxes, in addition to high sales taxes, property taxes, and gas taxes.

“The transit agency has zeroed in on three locations for a possible test program: a nearly 16-mile stretch of the 10 Freeway between downtown and Santa Monica, arterial streets and freeways around downtown and the canyon streets and freeways that connect the San Fernando Valley to the L.A. Basin.”-Source

Proponents say congestion pricing would:

  • Reduce traffic congestion: Congestion pricing can reduce traffic congestion by making it more expensive to drive in congested areas. This can encourage drivers to carpool, take public transportation, or walk or bike.
  • Improve air quality: Congestion pricing can improve air quality by reducing the number of cars on the road.
  • Generate revenue for transportation improvements: The revenue generated from congestion pricing can be used to improve transportation infrastructure, such as roads and public transportation.

Opponents say there are potential drawbacks of congestion pricing including:

  • Inequity: Congestion pricing can be inequitable if it is not implemented in a way that takes into account the needs of low-income drivers. For example, if congestion pricing is implemented in a way that makes it more expensive for low-income drivers to get to work, it can have a negative impact on their quality of life.
  • Administrative complexity: Congestion pricing can be administratively complex to implement. This is because it requires the development of a system for collecting tolls and enforcing the tolls.
  • Drivers may object to congestion pricing as a violation of individual liberty because it forces drivers to pay a fee to use a public road.

Roads are funded by taxes, and drivers already pay their fair share of taxes.

California's traffic congestion is a complex problem with no easy solutions.

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Lashaun is a Journalist whose column covers Black Political Opinion, Local stories and the I.E Food Tour, with NEWSBREAK since June 2021.- JADED: Journalism with a Touch of Shade is Lashaun's views and opinions on various trending topics. Lashaun aka Lady I.M.PRE$S is a former NBC/CNBC Affiliate KCAA Broadcaster for "Cali's BEST" Radio Show airing on 102.3FM & 106.5FM from 2016-2020. Lashaun has been in the Media & P.R field for over 13 years and has interviewed an estimated 20k Celebrities and Entrepreneurs. Lashaun also produced & hosted Blaze Indie L.A TV show on LA's Channel 36 from 2014-2016"

Los Angeles, CA

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