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San Francisco congestion tax enthusiasm loses steam

January 5th, 2009 · 2 Comments

I noticed this article in the New York Times on the weekend, suggesting that San Francisco is considering a congestion tax (in the first part of the story) but then (in the second part of the story) hinting that there’s less enthusiasm for it in these economically troubled times. Nothing like a recession to work magic on the roads!

It makes me wonder whether there has been a similar decline in enthusiasm here for all of the different kinds of road-pricing that were being contemplated as a way of ensuring that the Gateway Project didn’t just result in a flood of new traffic and new congestion.

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  • LP

    This city has a long history, going back to Gordon Price days (if not before), of believing that forcing people from their cars is the way to go.

    I doubt very much that the economic climate will dissuade Translink or Vision from increasing taxes, whatever they may be.

    Someone has to pay for their aggressive plans and who else are they going to get it from?

    Why not have property tax rebates for those people who use less of the city’s services as a reward?

    Positive action instead of negative reaction.

    I guess that would be too forward thinking for even a party who’s name indicates they have Vision! (Perhaps they have those thick coke bottle glasses on.)

  • Joseph Jones

    One excellent way to control vehicle congestion is to put a higher cost on street parking. (Think of it as a property tax on motor vehicles.) Cars don’t just drive, they also arrive.

    The City of Vancouver should be extracting more revenue from those who occupy curb space, which is a public good. This additional funding source could mitigate the present unsustainable rate of property tax increases.

    Traffic and parking stood out as the major concern at a recent neighborhood meeting in the Norquay area of East Vancouver. Our muncipal government both subsidizes and fails to control this degradation of our environment and quality of life.

    Here’s the Jones proposal. Grant each resident property taxpayer (house or condo) one and only one free and transferable permit to use the unmetered unrestricted curbside parking now available across Vancouver. The homeowner grant database could determine eligibility.

    Have all other vehicles pay five dollars a day for unmetered or off-hours street parking. Put in a lot of ticket machines and save on the installation of more parking meters. For longer term parkers, offer purchased permits and a discount (say a maximum 20% off for a one-year permit).

    With roving tow-trucks looking for expanded business, enforcement should be effective and cost the city nothing. Those extra fines could do even more to hold down property taxes.

    If the new City Council thinks it is bold for proposing a few car-free summer days in specific neighborhoods, let it consider this proposal.