Monday, April 23, 2007

Congestion Pricing

Once again, finals are bearing down. I take a respite from considering the law of torts to deliver a rare post to my loyal readers. Next Moday is when the nightmare begins again in earnest. That is when I measure my knowledge of contract law against 30-something multiple choice questions and 2 essays. Then torts. Then crim. Then property. My prediction? A, A+, A-, A. I should be so lucky, because it would take a lot of luck as well as knowledge to post such grades. We shall see. All I can do is prepare. I will update as the grades some in in June. I am sure you will await my report with hungry anticipation.

Bloomberg made an earth day speech. A big part of it was his proposal for congestion pricing. London and some other cities already do it. If you travel in Manhattan below a certain street (90-something?) between 6AM and 6PM, you must pay something like eight dollars. They will employ camers that capture plates and use an EZ Pass-like system.

Great. Please do this. I have a car, but anything to encourage mass transit use and decrease congestion is welcome. The city's getting more crowded, and we must reduce auto emissions.

Predictably, the plan has fierce opponents. One borough politician thought it sounded like a secret tax on the poor. Nice try. The poor in NYC don't have cars, and if they do, they already can't afford to drive them into Manhattan to work. Parking is $30/day in midtown. Not many truly poor people can afford $150/week in parking on top of tolls and gas.

I think, rather, the people he's thinking of are his upper-middle class constituents; Those folks who can afford to drive in and pay for parking but for whom the congestion tolls would be a real hardship.

But there are a couple benefits that may make the plan attractive to those who feel they must drive to work: 1. less traffic on their daily commutes. 2. Cheaper parking. If there are fewer cars, parking rates might go down as the garages compete for fewer customers. Thus, the congestion surcharge could conceivable be substantially offset by parking and time savings.

That's all I've got.


vacuous said...

If you guys can ban transfats, you can get congestion pricing. It's a great idea!

And, on a different note, what's up with all these law school abbreviations anyway?

La Misma said...

"the law of torts" -- it sounds so poetic. Like Alice in Wonderland. I'm sure it is nearly that magical.

Does you being so busy mean you will turn down my latest Scr. invite? Your hippocampus could probably use the rigor of a Scrabble game to enhance its clarity.

Don't tell me I've used hippocampus wrong.