California sets the stage for plan to charge drivers to use freeways

In yet another way to control the masses in California, Los Angeles County is cooking up a pilot project that would charge drivers on over-crowded freeways an additional congestion fee in an attempt to herd residents onto public transportation and reduce traffic.

(Video Credit: FOX 11 Los Angeles)

“The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is expected by the summer to release a long-awaited study that will offer a blueprint for a congestion pricing scheme similar to ones in cities such as London, Stockholm, and Singapore, where commuters pay to drive in city centers,” reported the Los Angeles Times.

“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,” the media outlet reported.

Los Angeles is not alone in planning to impose European-style congestion fees on its residents. New York is also planning to slap congestion fees on drivers to ease traffic in Manhattan. That plan, however, has been reportedly delayed until 2024, near the time of the next state legislative election, according to the New York City Council.

The proposed fees appear to be part of a green plan to expand public transportation and do away with more cars but details are still sketchy.

“Details of the plan — including pricing, the technology, and projected revenue — are still being ironed out. But Mark Vallianatos, who is overseeing the feasibility study at Metro, expects the agency will make its findings public in the coming months, with a vote by the board early next year. The pilot project will include subsidies for low-income drivers and carpoolers and funding that would create alternatives to driving solo,” the Los Angeles Times noted.

In an independent report on congestion fees, UCLA’s Institute of Transportation Studies estimated that 13% of households might be unduly burdened by freeway tolling in California due to low incomes and travel habits. The institute claims that funds from such a program would raise a lot of revenue that “can and should” be used to help low-income drivers and travelers to make sure they aren’t adversely affected by the tolls. As is the case with most other government programs such as this one, that idea is probably doomed to failure and will have unintended consequences.

Years in the works, the plan promises cleaner air, smoother rides, and more funds to the agency’s coffers in the future. Studies show it could reduce harmful air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by pushing more commuters to use public transit, while making roads less hellish for those who pay to use them,” the Times asserted.

“The pilot program is part of a larger push among major cities to rethink how to deal with traffic that eats up commuters’ lives and pollutes communities as vehicles creep along. California has been quietly setting the stage for road pricing for years,” the report continued.

Planetizen is also reporting, “Rather than having optional paid lanes, which already exist in the Los Angeles area, the congestion pricing proposal would apply to entire roadways. ‘The aim is to change commuter behavior with the charges while providing transit alternatives.’ Those transit alternatives, which remain an inferior option in most parts of the city, will be key to getting commuters to switch modes.”

Other major cities that have tried charging for congestion have had mixed success, according to Breitbart. Many drivers reject the attempted tax and use other roads. There are a number of types of congestion pricing that include fees for preferred lanes or to enter a certain area.

It all boils down to added tolls which are just another tax on many Los Angeles residents who are already taxed beyond their means.

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