In a clear message to L.A.’s transportation leaders, a U.S. Department of Transportation representative told the city's transit agency to consider congestion pricing as a method to both reduce congestion and show ‘the true costs’ of freeway driving.
Tyler Duvall, assistant secretary for transportation policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation, told LA's Metropolitan Transportation Authority board on Oct. 26 that they "need to experiment with charging motorists to drive in special freeway lanes during peak periods".
"The Bush administration strongly encourages ‘experimentation and exploration' of ways to reduce congestion through peak pricing, Duvall said."
"The 13-member MTA board, which includes Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, three of his appointees and the five county supervisors, has been wary of congestion pricing because of fears that it would prove unpopular with voters in a region so dependent on the automobile.
In August, the Bush administration chose New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis and Miami to receive shares of $850 million in federal grants to institute various congestion pricing programs. Los Angeles lost out in the competition because the MTA failed to include a congestion pricing plan in its application to Washington. "It just fell a bit short," Duvall said."
"Anticipating the concern of some elected officials that congestion pricing is unfair to the poor, Duvall suggested that drivers of all income levels can benefit. He used the example of a low-income mother who pays to use a toll lane because she needs to pick up her son or daughter from day care by a certain time or face a late charge.
County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke expressed the hope that the federal agency would weigh regions differently when deciding where to award grant money. She urged the Bush administration to factor into its decisions the driving patterns of the area's low-income residents.
Duvall said he recognizes that solutions to the congestion problem have to be "flexible and tailored" to the needs of each urban area. But he added that it's important that the federal government "send a signal to people about the true costs of moving on an urban highway."
Thanks to ABAG-MTC Libary