Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Chronicle's Half-Baked Editorial Opinion

The Chronicle Comical's editorial against congestion pricing is the latest nonsensical opinion to dribble across that once-halfway-decent page. The irrational diatribe claims that the market-driven plan to charge cars to drive downtown (during rush hour only!) is a "half-baked" "eco-friendly idea" that "may be too much even for San Francisco."

One of San Francisco's "relatively unclogged city streets," according to Chronicle editors who apparently don't get out much

$30-60 million may be a relatively small amount of money to a business like The Chronicle that loses that much each year, but it is in fact a significant amount of money for the regions transit agencies. That's a full tenth of the SFMTA budget! But if it suits the accounting sensibilities of the Chron, I'd be perfectly happy setting the price by supply and demand, the way our parking meters soon will.

The clueless editorial writer guffaws, "The city's official slogan might as well be: Don't Drive Here," but "Don't drive" is indeed city policy. Section 8A.115 of our City Charter, our "Transit First" policy, specifically states that
Decisions regarding the use of limited public street and sidewalk space shall encourage the use of public rights of way by pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit, and shall strive to reduce traffic and improve public health and safety.
As I've said before, congestion pricing is not punitive! The fact of the matter is that motor vehicle drivers have been receiving a public subsidy for years. Congestion pricing plans are just a step toward presenting people with the true economic costs of their decisions. That most people would consider the costs of driving too much to make it worthwhile most of the time is not a reason to hide that cost from them, especially when the agreed-upon goal on both sides is to get them to stop driving.

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