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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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To: antiRepublicrat
3) If the alternate route goes through residential neighborhoods, pedestrian deaths are likely to go up

Wow! Women and minorities hardest hit!

21 posted on 02/12/2007 1:23:26 PM PST by lightman (The Office of the Keys should be exercised as some ministry needs to be exorcised)
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To: presidio9

Rather than having **any** solution enforced from on-high by a bunch of chair polishing bureaucrats, how about relaxing the rules so that municipalities and local governments can more easily try their own creative solutions?


22 posted on 02/12/2007 1:23:54 PM PST by voltaires_zit
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To: antiRepublicrat

In Germany the secondary roads follow routes laid down during the middle ages. Plus the gas tax is twice what it is in this country.


23 posted on 02/12/2007 1:23:56 PM PST by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: AnotherUnixGeek
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.

Worse, you often end up in a line of ten or twelve cars behind some retard who is doing 5mp below the speed limit, and you can't get out.

24 posted on 02/12/2007 1:24:33 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: GeorgefromGeorgia
Absent the HOV lanes, commuting would have doubled my one hour commute.

HOV lanes are infrastructure rationing. Once you concede the principle that public roadways are free for all to use, you've made yourself the plaything of the power junkies and policy wonks.

What do you do when they jack up the HOV requirement to 4+, then 6+, then 21+ (buses only!)? You're screwed. You've let your public servants take away

HOV lanes will wind up being the big-shots-only lanes that Hedrick Smith described in his book The Russians.

Build the roads, stop playing games. Double-deck them if need be. Build them, stop trying to screw the public. And quit trying to pump up downtown real-estate values artificially by luring all the big employers downtown with tax abatements.

HOV lanes are all about killing commuting so that people will be forced to move back into the cities -- so their paychecks can be recycled in the form of sky-high rents. Pres. Bush is trying to help the Old Money replicate the Tokyo labor-cost recycling model here in America -- turning the big cities into company towns. Great for the big-rich stockholders and well-heeled managers, high-rent tenement hell for their employees.

25 posted on 02/12/2007 1:24:53 PM PST by lentulusgracchus ("Whatever." -- sinkspur)
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To: lentulusgracchus

Hey, I HOV to work and back each day....I love it.


26 posted on 02/12/2007 1:26:12 PM PST by tearlenb
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To: Logical me

Are you williung to pay the taxes they pay for gas in Germany? Gas costs more than $5.00 a gallon there and more than half the price is tax.


27 posted on 02/12/2007 1:26:34 PM PST by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: freeangel
Did I miss something? I thought gasoline taxes were the "fees" I pay for using the roads.

Don't forget the several thousands of dollars of tax you paid when you bought the car.

28 posted on 02/12/2007 1:26:55 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

I wouldn't have a problem with paying a fee to use roads IF they cut all the taxes they currently levy for building and maintaining roads.


29 posted on 02/12/2007 1:27:49 PM PST by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: freeangel

Here in Illinois, the toll roads are constructing ' open road tolling'. You have to buy a sticker for your windshield, a camera reads it and deducts from your total you have pre-paid for. No more toll baskets to stop for, whatever.
I can't help but wonder when we might start seeing this type of tolling on many other roads. Seems like an easy way for big brother to keep track of your speed, also.
Progress.


30 posted on 02/12/2007 1:27:53 PM PST by abovethefray
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To: presidio9
Carpooling won't do much to reduce U.S. highway congestion in urban areas

Absolutely true. I lived both in L.A. and the SF Bay Area, and the diamond lanes were a joke. The main lines of the freeway are at a complete standstill, and the diamond lane has like 5 people in it, all going 90mph. They do NOTHING for traffic conjestion. Their only purpose is to give liberals a way to directly punish you for not being politically correct.

31 posted on 02/12/2007 1:31:03 PM PST by Cymbaline (I repeat myself when under stress I repeat myself when under stress I repeat myself when under stres)
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To: SoCalPol
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.


I won't be doing this. People can do all kinds of things. That doesn't mean they should. Personal transportation and the ability to move beyond a few square miles on your own schedule is one of the most positive developments in the US in the last 100 years, and there is no good reason not to continue.
32 posted on 02/12/2007 1:32:01 PM PST by AnotherUnixGeek
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To: SF Republican; Froufrou; lentulusgracchus
I have been part of transit studies since 1985 including light rail, bus, commuter lanes, and Maglev. In all of these studies, no solution eventually gets the drivers of personal cars from their start point to their end point any faster. Every year every driver spends 10% more time getting from point A to point B regardless of infrastructure changes. Within 20 years a typical 6 speed 450 hp personal car will never get out of second gear. Just too many cars on the roads. It's science, not hysteria. Try driving from LA to Las Vegas on a Friday night. 450 miles and you will never exceed 50 MPH. Add two more lanes in each direction over the next 10 years and guess what? 450 miles and you will never exceed 45 MPH. Over the 10 year period required to complete the project so many additional cars are added it negates the advantages of the additional lanes.
33 posted on 02/12/2007 1:32:30 PM PST by Ben Mugged (Always cheat; always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.)
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To: RacerF150
Deep tax incentives for businesses that “telecommute” workers.

The technology is certainly there. I could easily telecommute, but my boss doesn't like not having us at his beck and call every minute.

34 posted on 02/12/2007 1:33:08 PM PST by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: Logical me
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.

For income opportunities for very well-heeled international investors.

The idea isn't just to build toll roads. It's to make all the principal thoroughfares toll roads -- and then sell them to high-roller investors.

Money-runners are desperate for income opportunities. The Bush Administration has been trying to help them out by e.g. passing that law in 2003 that allows the States to convert the Interstates (which we've already paid for) to toll roads -- and then sell them.

That's what it's about. It isn't about taxes for the government, it's about trillions of dollars in rents paid to people who don't need the money, from people who can't afford it, for stuff we already own.

It's a Big Fix and a ripoff, catered by Castle Bush.

Other than that, you can tell I don't have an opinion about this "pigs at the trough stuff". Which, by the way, is one of the reasons the Reagan Democrats are walking away from the GOP.

The Party will be ruined after next year, but that'll be okay -- the GOP will have done its job and will have delivered the goods for its real constituents, the Pigs at the Trough.

(Note: "Access capitalism" isn't capitalism. It's just access.)

35 posted on 02/12/2007 1:34:35 PM PST by lentulusgracchus ("Whatever." -- sinkspur)
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To: SoCalPol
If I can do this, so can most.

That is, if you have public transportation where you live and work. Not everyone does.

36 posted on 02/12/2007 1:34:52 PM PST by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: freeangel
Did I miss something? I thought gasoline taxes were the "fees" I pay for using the roads.

That's what I thought, too! Hell, at this rate, why should I vote Republican anymore?

There's got to be something in the air inside the Beltway that rots politicians' brains.

37 posted on 02/12/2007 1:38:49 PM PST by Night Hides Not (Chuck Hagel is the Republican Joe Biden!)
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To: presidio9

Horse lanes are our only fix!

But wait.....with the dims in charge, even less people will need to bother to work for a living. They can simply hang out and wait for their checks to come in. This should clear up traffic problems, eliminate drive-by shootings and get the USA back on the right track.

On second thought, I'll stay with the horse lanes.


38 posted on 02/12/2007 1:40:11 PM PST by Gator113
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
"... I cannot imagine getting into a stranger's car."

I understand your reluctance, but GeorgefromGeorgia is correct; I lived in Northern Virginia in the mid-1970's and again in the early 1980's. "Slugging" was commonplace back then as well, and many (probably one-fourth) of the participants were women. I'm sure there were some unfortunate incidents, but I can't recall reading or hearing about one.
39 posted on 02/12/2007 1:40:24 PM PST by riverdawg
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To: Ben Mugged
It's science, not hysteria.

It's assuming that population keeps growing exponentially. It isn't.

It's assuming that the Boys Downtown get everything they want, and that all employment 20 years from now will be downtown, and the employees will live in the suburbs and commute downtown instead of growing a brain and solving their problem by finding or creating jobs in the suburbs and exurbs.

Why is everybody a capitalist until some poor slob tries to get out of the rat race by buying himself a job in the 'burbs? No, he has to turn into a socialist and get in line to get on a rationed transit "system" run by policy junkies for their own benefit.

40 posted on 02/12/2007 1:41:10 PM PST by lentulusgracchus ("Whatever." -- sinkspur)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife

You do it every time you get in a cab.


41 posted on 02/12/2007 1:41:28 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: Ben Mugged

Don't know where you are, but wouldn't your research suggest that light rail may be something to consider? I know TX was talking about it and I don't know why they switched to the TTC talks.


42 posted on 02/12/2007 1:42:45 PM PST by Froufrou
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To: presidio9

Or as in the case of Austin Texas, existing highways can be stolen from the public and converted into toll roads.


43 posted on 02/12/2007 1:42:46 PM PST by weegee (No third term. Hillary Clinton's 2008 election run presents a Constitutional Crisis.)
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To: presidio9
[Article] The administration argued that congestion pricing is already used by many providers of goods ....

Their goods are not public property. They have no fiduciary duty to administer the goods faithfully and fairly for the public benefit, or to treat citizens as equals under the law.

44 posted on 02/12/2007 1:44:41 PM PST by lentulusgracchus ("Whatever." -- sinkspur)
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To: presidio9

fine. build more roads, charge for use, but you'd better give me better speed limits. if i can't do 90mph+ then forget it.


45 posted on 02/12/2007 1:44:52 PM PST by absolootezer0 (stop repeat offenders - don't re-elect them!)
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To: weegee; presidio9; Ben Mugged

That's what they want to do in San Antonio. The problem with Austin is they didn't have a 'loop' so they've known traffic headaches for a long time.


46 posted on 02/12/2007 1:45:25 PM PST by Froufrou
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
As a woman, I cannot imagine getting into a stranger's car.

Does that include a tow truck?

The mayor of Houston mandated that all drivers will be towed if they stop on the highway (day or night) for more than 5 minutes (who can change a tire THAT fast?).

And the mayor swore he'd run background checks on the tow drivers but again and again convicted violent felons were found driving the tow trucks.

47 posted on 02/12/2007 1:45:27 PM PST by weegee (No third term. Hillary Clinton's 2008 election run presents a Constitutional Crisis.)
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To: Logical me; savedbygrace

They aren't proposing a new tax, they are proposing building new roads and using congestion pricing to finance those new roads, instead of using taxes to build the roads.

It is a way to get more roads without increasing taxes.


48 posted on 02/12/2007 1:45:51 PM PST by Diddle E. Squat (Rudy Giuliani-Joe Dyton in '08; and free the Texas Three.)
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To: Froufrou

Most forms of mass public transportation resulted in a reduction of commute times for individuals taking the alternatives but had effectively zero impact on highway traffic. Implementing mass transit to reduce highway congestion doesn't.


49 posted on 02/12/2007 1:46:22 PM PST by Ben Mugged (Always cheat; always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.)
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To: freeangel
The problem with fuel taxes is that once you pay the tax, you have no incentive to vary your driving patterns to minimize your impact on congestion (and the impact congestion has on you).

A "free" highway system is sort of like an all-you-can-eat restaurant. Sure, the money you paid up front probably covers much of the cost of the roadway, but once you've paid for the meal there is no incentive against gorging yourself. The natural result of an all-you-can-eat dining environment is an obese customer base. The natural result of a "free" highway system is roadway congestion.

50 posted on 02/12/2007 1:46:23 PM PST by Alberta's Child (Can money pay for all the days I lived awake but half asleep?)
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