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Monday, September 7, 2009

Red, white and blue = not so green

The U.S. State Department is refusing to pay the $13-per-car "congestion charge" that folks have to pay to enter central London. They're saying that it's a tax, and therefore the embassy has diplomatic immunity from having to pungle up. The Brits say it's just a toll, and so the rich countries who are refusing to pay are deadbeats. And polluters to boot! Where is Earl the Pearl to send a container full of bikes over and solve this international crisis?

Oh and BTW, the whole thing is enforced with Big Brother cameras that record every vehicle coming and going into the "congestion charging zone." I suspect that the Sam-Rand twins and Sustainable Susan are already considering the possibilities for this sort of thing in downtown Portland. People who drive cars should take their business elsewhere.

Comments (14)

Per the first link: First the US decided not to pay and then many European countries followed suit.

Once again, the US boldly takes the lead.

The congestion charge is really a good idea: it produces buckets of revenue for the local government; it offsets externalized costs that drivers otherwise incur on behalf of the rest of the population, and helps drivers make a real economic choice about driving. As a bonus, it makes traffic more manageable.

If you accept the premise behind all auto regulatory regimes --- that driving is a privilege and not a right --- then there's not much to see here (other than the US Govt doing what it does best, undoing with one unknowing hand what its other hands are busily trying to do elsewhere). Since you don't have a right to drive, there's no grounds to object to a privilege charge to ration the resource.

If downtown Portland implemented congestion charges, it would put businesses in Portland with customers who drive at a disadvantage. Why go downtown when you can drive to the mall?

Traffic in the City of London is hardly "more manageable" because of the congestion fee.

Those who work in the area (bankers, hedge fund managers, etc.) aren't dissuaded by a $20 daily fee that is probably expensed out anyway. It is just another way for the City government to collect revenues to offset security and other costs(which is fine by me - I'd never drive in Central London anyway).

Hey Jack - this is a really GREAT idea to implement in downtown Portland. Between the moronic transit mall turning downtown into a switching yard and the numerous vacant retail stores, this will just about kill any reason for coming downtown at all.

Congestion pricing - just another bad idea from Europe. Probably coming to a lame local government near you.

As for Mike (the other one) - you bet that charge is passed on. It's so funny when people say, 'Oh, we should tax business and blah, blah, blah.' The businesses get it back from the folks - it doesn't hurt or impact the business.

Europe = stupid, stupid, stupid.

Lest the whiners forget , those of us who do not use cars heavily subsidize your Gasoline
[with war] and your roads and freeways. I say tax and toll them Sadly it is perverted for one part of government to give you a tax break , while the other is hittng you with a new tax.

HB2001 already has it in the pipeline, provided voters don't sign the available petitions and kill it in May's primary.

2nd line in the summary...
75th OREGON LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY--2009 Regular Session
House Bill 2001
Ordered by the House May 22
Directs interim House and Senate committees related to transportation and Oregon Transportation Commission to conduct study. Sunsets January 2, 2012.
Directs Department of Transportation to develop one or more pilot programs to implement congestion pricing in Portland metropolitan area. Sunsets January 2, 2016.
Directs Department of Transportation to >snip

The pilot program is supposed to be up and running within 3 years of HB2001 passage.

For those already in the "congestion zone," the Sam-Rand twins will just put turnstiles on your doors and you can pay whenever you want to go anywhere.

The greenie weenies want everyone to live on top of each other to conserve resources -- then they want to tax the bejesus out of everyone to reduce congestion.

This is already is works by our fearless leaders running the city. They can't come right out and say it but I have it on good authority that this tax is the ultimate goal.
The first step has been taken: get the mass transit shoved up our rears, make parking and driving such a headache drivers give up. Turn more streets into bike highways.
Then they will charge the fee. By which time drivers will be so topped off they have already surrendered.
For those of us who complain what a hassle it is to drive and park downtown, save your breath. Not one person running this city cares what you think. Their goal is to make downtown car free.

Then it will be business-free, and then they'll spend a hundred million to bring the cars back. The construction guys will love it -- cue "The Sopranos" theme.

The only problem is the inevitable Chapter 9 bankruptcy that's sure to disrupt The Master Plan.

Portland is somewhat like Eugene. In the early 70's some planners thought that closing Willamette Street to vehicles (Eugene's primary business street) was the answer to whoever made up the question.

Eugene's downtown died and it still barely survives even after the planners replanned to bring back the cars. The public realized that they weren't really wanted downtown except to hangout after buying coke. Sometimes bad decision last a long time.

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