Zweisystem at Rail for the Valley reads Transportation Commissioner Martin Crilly saying nice things about road pricing, and offers a couple of criticisms.  First, Zweisystem says that, “London’s congestion charges are now deemed as a failure as it hasn’t curbed congestion. . .”  But according to London’s former Mayor, Ken Livingston, congestion pricing in London has “cut the amount of traffic entering central London by 20%.”  Livingston also credits congestion pricing for shifting 4% of London’s drivers out of their cars and on public transit.  Those seem like good things.

But Zweisystem also thinks road pricing is a bad idea because it would be politically unpopular.  It sure would be!  Just like every other tax is politically unpopular.  No one likes paying taxes.  But that’s no reason not to have them.  If pricing roads were an effective policy — if it generated revenue that let Translink sustain its services, and if it encouraged people to get out of their cars and onto transit — then it’d be good policy.  Thankfully, it looks like some metro Vancouver mayors, like Dianne Watts in this Jeff Nagal article, are coming around to seeing things that way.

Late update: I’ve conflated road pricing and congestion pricing in this post, which is unfortunately imprecise.  Thanks to Stephen Rees for setting me straight.  In the context of Martin Crilly’s report on Translink’s 10 year plan, and his contention that Translink needs to move towards heavier demand-side sticks for managing transportation, maybe we’d be better to talk in the most inclusive terms possible about the whole variety of ways of making driving more expensive: all of them are or will be unpopular, but their unpopularity has nothing to do with whether they’re effective.

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