Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What is wrong with road pricing? Plenty.

The idea of road-pricing, aka congestion pricing, aka tolling, is that the free market should apply to roads, that users should pay, and they should pay more when demand is high.

This is a scam. The auto-system is unsustainable, has always been, will ever be. It exists solely by virtue of heavy subsidy, and the externalization and deferral of costs. Now the bill for deferred infrastructure maintenance is due, and there is no money. Things are bad, but the oil industry has great power and is insisting that the system be prolonged. One of their biggest trolls, Grover Norquist, says to keep the gas tax.

Road pricing is just a sneaky fake free-market way to raise money to save the already unsustainable auto system, locking us in to more misery in the future.

A much better solution is to gradually dismantle the auto system. This can be done by making public transit fare-free and increasing ridership. The increased ridership would lead to demand for more frequent service, which would lead to more ridership.

There would be no need for massive auto system infrastructure investment.