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Thursday, November 18, 2010

San Francisco Wants to Charge $3 Per Trip To/From City

People in the San Fransisco Bay Area are beside themselves, after hearing the news that the city of San Fransisco is contemplating charging commuters $3 to leave and enter the city during rush hour:

Peninsula residents are upset about a proposal to charge commuters $6 each weekday to enter and exit San Francisco to the south, calling the plan "a slap in the face," "a crazy idea" and "ridiculous."

Already dealing with some of the nation's highest gas prices and, in some cases, hefty parking fees, drivers crossing the San Mateo County-San Francisco border would pay rush hour tolls to fund local transportation upgrades and, in theory, reduce traffic jams, under a proposal by San Francisco officials.

Officials said they would spend $60 million to $100 million to set up the electronic system, coupled with local transit improvements, starting in 2015. It would be the first local "congestion pricing" system in the country and could begin as a 6-to-12-month pilot program that, if successful, could become permanent.

Under the plan, drivers leaving or entering San Francisco at the southern border would pay $3 from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. and another $3 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays, with a daily cap of $6. Commuters would pay up to $130 per month, or $1,500 in a year, if the tolls last that long.

It'll reduce traffic jams during rush hours, for sure, because no one will want to pay. Instead, rush hour will be moved to 4am-6am and 6:30-8pm, or it'll move the traffic jams off the highways and onto the residential or commercial streets, as people exit off the highway, in order to go around and avoid the toll booths.

Really, this is about three things. First, they are trying to get money to pay the bills and debts that they are racking up with all of their wild spending and create an end-around to raising taxes. Second, they are trying to limit carbon emissions.

This would be a huge business and jobs killer for San Fransisco. Some people who cannot afford to pay yet another bill/tax and, because of family obligations, can't change their schedule to avoid the toll times may end up quitting the jobs that they have in the city and find jobs elsewhere. Plus, those that go into the city to do business and/or go shopping will shy away from going into the city and take their business elsewhere, if they are charged a toll. This is an example of the type of economy-killing ideas that are driving people away from such lunacy.

This could, also, start a toll war in between San Fransisco and the surrounding cities:

Daly City Councilman David Canepa said he thought the worst part of the plan was that it was being done "under the guise of trying to get people to take public transportation."

"It's absolutely nonsensical," said Canepa, who also called the plan terrible, atrocious and egregious. "It's a slap in all of our faces. They're trying to make San Mateo County residents pay a tax because over the years they haven't made proper investments in their infrastructure."

Locals also wondered why San Francisco would be getting all the money even though the border is shared by both counties, and what would stop other cities from copying them.

"We could do the same thing; it'd be a nightmare," warned Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, of a toll at the same border to fund Peninsula projects, or tolls at each of the borders of all the local cities. "It sounds like another crazy idea. Where do you stop nickel and diming people? You should be able to travel from city to city without paying a toll."

This will not end well, if it is implemented. However, because of all of the negative reactions to this idea coming from just about everyone and the high cost of $60-100 million just to start the program, I doubt that this will get off of the ground, but then again, this is the city that Pelosi is from and where ultra-liberal idiocy abounds and thrives without restraint. So, who knows?

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