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White House slams carpooling, new road fees better (children, minorities hardest hit...)
Reuters ^ | February 12, 2007 | Tom Doggett

Posted on 02/12/2007 1:03:09 PM PST by presidio9

Carpooling won't do much to reduce U.S. highway congestion in urban areas, and a better solution would be to build new highways and charge drivers fees to use them, the White House said on Monday.

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"It is increasingly appropriate to charge drivers for some roadway use in the same way the private market charges for other goods and services," the White House said in its annual report on the U.S. economy.

While some urban areas have designated roads for vehicles with two or more passengers, those high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes are often underused because carpooling is becoming less popular, the administration said.

Based on the latest data supplied by the White House, only about 13 percent of motorists carpooled to work in 2000. That compared with 20 percent of daily American commuters in 1980.

"This trend makes it unlikely that initiatives focused on carpooling will make large strides in reducing vehicle use," the White House said.

Building more highways won't reduce congestion either, unless drivers are charged a fee, according to the administration.

"If a roadway is priced -- that is, if drivers have to pay a fee to access a particular road -- then congestion can be avoided by adjusting the price up or down at different times of day to reflect changes in demand for its use," the White House said. "Road space is allocated to drivers who most highly value a reliable and unimpaired commute."

Critics of such fees argue that road tolls would make new highways reserved mostly for wealthy drivers, who are more likely to travel in expensive, gas-guzzling vehicles.

But the White House said urban road expansions should be focused on highways where drivers demonstrate a willingness to pay a fee that is higher than the actual cost of construction, allowing communities to avoid raising taxes on everyone to build the roads.

The administration argued that congestion pricing is already used by many providers of goods and services: movie theaters charge more for tickets in the evening than they do at midday, just as ski resorts raise lift prices on weekends. Similarly, airlines boost prices on tickets during peak travel seasons and taxi cabs raise fares during the rush hour.


TOPICS: Extended News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: beammeupscotty; foryourowngood; fromthegovernment; heretohelp; nonewtaxes; smartgrowth; taxdollarsatwork; tollroads; transportation; youpayforthis
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1 posted on 02/12/2007 1:03:13 PM PST by presidio9
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To: presidio9
I worked at the Pentagon for 5 years in the 90s and the HOV lanes were a lifesaver. I carpooled for a couple of years, and then when the carpool died, I "slugged." Slugging is common in Northern VA. You stand at the bus stop in a line, and cars that need more riders for the HOV pick you up at no charge. I did it three years and it worked like a charm. Absent the HOV lanes, commuting would have doubled my one hour commute.
2 posted on 02/12/2007 1:08:17 PM PST by GeorgefromGeorgia
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To: presidio9
Car pooling and new roads are not the solution. More drivers are being added to the highways faster than we can pave new ones. The real solution will not be liked by almost anyone but still remains the only one that will work.

Get drivers out of their cars.

3 posted on 02/12/2007 1:09:38 PM PST by Ben Mugged (Always cheat; always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.)
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To: GeorgefromGeorgia

As a woman, I cannot imagine getting into a stranger's car.


4 posted on 02/12/2007 1:11:16 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife
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To: presidio9

Deep tax incentives for businesses that “telecommute” workers. That’s the ticket.


5 posted on 02/12/2007 1:13:12 PM PST by Niteranger68 (Point your toilets towards Mecca!)
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To: Ben Mugged
Get drivers out of their cars.

Great idea. You walk. I'll wave as I drive by.

"Get drivers out of their cars." Right. You and whose army -- Feliks Dzherzhinsky? You sound like him. You must be one of those Hume-worshippers.

6 posted on 02/12/2007 1:14:03 PM PST by lentulusgracchus ("Whatever." -- sinkspur)
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To: GeorgefromGeorgia

HOV lanes are not the ultimate solution. This president has dropped the ball on funding alternative transportation research. It's the 21st century. Where the hell is my jet pack?

7 posted on 02/12/2007 1:14:14 PM PST by presidio9 (There is something wonderful about a country that produces a brave and humble man like Wesley Autrey)
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To: presidio9

About once or twice a month I use a 30-mile stretch of interstate highway. Any other time I am on country backroads. However, when I lived in a huge city I used the tollroad whenever possible because you can drive without congestion. So to a certain extent, this plan makes sense. But will it bring cries from the minority groups and advocates for the poor?


8 posted on 02/12/2007 1:14:37 PM PST by JustaDumbBlonde (America: Home of the Free Because of the Brave)
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To: presidio9

Did I miss something? I thought gasoline taxes were the "fees" I pay for using the roads.


9 posted on 02/12/2007 1:15:21 PM PST by freeangel ( (free speech is only good until someone else doesn't like what you say))
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To: presidio9
Critics of such fees argue that road tolls would make new highways reserved mostly for wealthy drivers

They had a similar proposal for the Autobahns in Germany. The German automobile club came up with some interesting facts that you can add up:

1) Highways are safer to drive than secondary or city roads
2) Enacting a fee for highway use will make more people use secondary or city roads to avoid the fee

This brings up a few conclusions:

1) Deaths will go up do to increased usage of less safe roads
2) Congestion on the secondary roads will go up
3) If the alternate route goes through residential neighborhoods, pedestrian deaths are likely to go up

10 posted on 02/12/2007 1:15:30 PM PST by antiRepublicrat
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To: Ben Mugged

And into what?

Or are you thinking more along the lines of people working from home more?


11 posted on 02/12/2007 1:15:43 PM PST by Froufrou
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To: presidio9

A Republican administration proposing new taxes. Imagine that.


12 posted on 02/12/2007 1:17:03 PM PST by savedbygrace (SECURE THE BORDERS FIRST (I'M YELLING ON PURPOSE))
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To: GeorgefromGeorgia
Slugging is common in Northern VA. You stand at the bus stop in a line, and cars that need more riders for the HOV pick you up at no charge

Wow! What a great idea!

13 posted on 02/12/2007 1:18:15 PM PST by VeniVidiVici (ĦEl proletariado del mundo, une! - Xuygo Chavez)
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I live in San Diego, a large city and never owned a car.
Went to work for decades by bus.
Grocery shoping, etc walking or bus and I am on forearm crutches also.

If I can do this, so can most. Use public transportation or walk.


14 posted on 02/12/2007 1:18:19 PM PST by SoCalPol (Duncan Hunter '08 Tough on WOT & Illegals)
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To: presidio9
Critics of such fees argue that road tolls would make new highways reserved mostly for wealthy drivers, who are more likely to travel in expensive, gas-guzzling vehicles.

Well, if you want to talk global warming... Mr. Moneybags in his gas-guzzling vehicle might burn 2 gallons of gas to drive 20 miles of clear roadway, but would burn 4 gallons of gas to if the roadway is congested. Meanwhile, Greenie Thriftyman might burn a half gallon to drive those 20 miles if the traffic is clear, and one gallon if the roadway is congested.

So, you see, if one or the other driver must be stuck in traffic, holding up Mr. Moneybags and his gas-guzzler will result in the burning of an additional two gallons of fuel, while holding up Greenie Thriftyman will only result in the burning of an additional half gallon.

Therefore all good citizens should agree that we must let Mr. Moneybags go along his way unimpeded, in order to save the environment!

15 posted on 02/12/2007 1:19:26 PM PST by bondjamesbond (Have you ever noticed that whatever the problem, the government's solution is always "more taxes"?)
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To: Ben Mugged
Get drivers out of their cars My wife saw Al Gores movie and is now a believer. I ride mass transit and since her job is on the same line I suggested maybe she could take mass transit also rather than drive the car everyday. She did not like that idea. When I pressed her on doing her part, she said it was, “inconvenient”.
16 posted on 02/12/2007 1:19:48 PM PST by SF Republican
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To: presidio9
"If a roadway is priced -- that is, if drivers have to pay a fee to access a particular road

Then not a dime of my taxes should have gone into any aspect of that roadway's construction.

But I agree that carpools are a joke - the lanes are empty most of the time while traffic crawls along in the other lanes. The only solution is more freeways.
17 posted on 02/12/2007 1:21:22 PM PST by AnotherUnixGeek
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To: All

There are other options, but since it won't generate money for the government, they probably won't do it, but...

They could work with companies to allow more employees to work at home, be available for conference calls or web cast meetings. There's so much technology, it isn't necessary for a lot of employees to physically be at their companies every day. Explore 4-day work weeks, rotating even.

I have such a job, and it would be easy to set me up at home. I could easily do my job being onsite only once per week.


18 posted on 02/12/2007 1:22:34 PM PST by Madeleine Ward
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To: SoCalPol

well I lived in Philadelphia and let me tell ya - public transport stinks, big time.


19 posted on 02/12/2007 1:22:49 PM PST by statered ("And you know what I mean.")
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To: presidio9
This is the biggest pile of crap I've heard in a long time. Everyone in this Country, even if they drive or not, benefits from the highways. Goods, transportation, etc. Everyone should pay taxes for these roads. Name me one who does not benefit from this mode of transportation. Remember, I said "Goods". That includes food etc.

Just a way to tax more for the highways. What in the hell are we paying taxes for, just to be double taxed for the same slab of cement. How stupid. All toll and charges for highway travel should be eliminated. What in the heck do we pay taxes for?
20 posted on 02/12/2007 1:23:12 PM PST by Logical me (Oh, well!!!)
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