Comprehensive Tolling Idea Meet Criticism in D.C.

A proposal to place tolls on many of the highways around Washington D.C. is being blasted by critics, who say planners should place more emphasis on providing better transit services than charging commuters left with few options.

"A plan to place tolls on most highways in the Washington area was greeted skeptically yesterday by members of a regional transportation panel, with some saying that many people have no choice but to commute by automobile and that tolls would be yet another financial burden."

"'Let's look at transit and alternatives first before expanding tolling,' said Victor Weissberg, a Prince George's County representative on the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board."

"The board was briefed on an 18-month study funded by the federal government that explored adding tolls to all highways and parkways in the region and plowing the projected $2.75 billion in revenue into transit and road improvements. Planners and local leaders say they can no longer rely on the state and federal governments to fund improvements for the traffic-choked and fast-growing Washington region."

Full Story: Regional Panel Wary of Toll Plan

Comments

Comments

Which Comes First, The Transit Or The Tolls?

"'Let's look at transit and alternatives first before expanding tolling,' said Victor Weissberg, a Prince George's County representative on the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board."

They have given the obvious answer to this chicken-or-egg question in New York, where plans for congestion pricing say it should happen in this order: 1) approve congestion pricing. 2) borrow against the future revenue stream to put transit alternatives in place before implementing congestion pricing. 3) start collecting the congestion charges.

If the people in Washington insist on building transit before they approve tolling, then they will not have the revenue stream from tolling to build transit.

Charles Siegel

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