7/5/2007Los Angeles to Consider Congestion Tax
Los Angeles, California becomes the latest major city to consider a congestion tax.
Los Angeles, California is the latest city to explore the possibility of imposing a congestion tax on motorists who enter the downtown area. San Francisco became the first to explore the idea and was quickly followed by New York City, New York and Chicago, Illinois. All four major cities are looking to receive a piece of the $1.1 billion subsidy the US Department of Transportation has held out for such efforts, in addition to the millions the programs themselves can raise. Last week, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) officially began an inquiry into congestion charging.
"All signs are pointing to this being the future," Michael Cano, aide to county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, told the LA Daily News. "The feds are going to start putting out more money for programs that include congestion pricing, and we miss out if we are not at the table."
The MTA has an annual budget of $3 billion which it uses to subsidize bus and light rail service in LA county. The agency missed out on the current round of federal funding for toll projects, but hopes to be prepared for expected grants in the future. Other plans discussed including charging a toll on the freeway lanes currently set aside for carpool (HOV) use. The toll lanes would take place of the carpool lanes on Interstate 10, Interstate 210 and the Pomona Freeway (CA 60).
London, UK Mayor Ken Livingstone introduced the concept of congestion taxing in 2003. By 2010, his program will have generated £1.7 billion (US $3.4 billion) in revenue. Having established and expanded the charging zone, Livingstone plans to add a special global warming tax on drivers of popular SUVs, sports cars and luxury vehicles. They will each be charged £25 (US $50) to enter downtown London.