Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Latest from Board of Mental Defectives: $3 Downtown Toll

The geniuses at San Francisco's Board of Supes are pushing an idea that's been batted about from time to time but appears to be gaining momentum - a $3 toll to enter downtown in a car.

These tolls - called "cordon tolls" - are not used in the United States, but are in some European cities.

Needless to say, there are lots of problems with this idea. Putting aside for a moment the question of how to implement such a scam, er, scheme, just getting into San Francisco from the Bay Area costs $4-5 depending on which bridge you cross.

Here are some other issues brought up by the SFGate article (with my 2 cents)...

"Initially, they considered establishing a downtown zone - a twin triangle area bounded by Washington, Jones, Turk and Harrison streets and Van Ness Avenue. Then they looked at charging fees at the city's major gateways: the Bay and Golden Gate bridges, Highway 101 and Interstate 280.

But the downtown zone was too small, and drivers would just avoid it, causing problems in adjacent neighborhoods, Bent said. And charging at the gateways would reduce traffic from outside San Francisco but might end up encouraging more driving among city residents, she said."

(Wellll... DUH! So they came up with this map - see below. As anyone will easily see, the green area covers much, much more than just "downtown." It encompasses nearly a fourth of the city, including all tourist areas, most shopping and convention areas, the Castro, and the entire Western Addition [Good luck collecting from all the housing projects, Ross!].

"The congestion toll could raise between $35 million and $65 million a year - money that could be invested in transportation improvements, with an emphasis on boosting service and capacity on Muni, BART and other transit agencies that serve San Francisco."

Could be, but most likely won't be. The Supes will no doubt push for the money to be put into the general fund, where they can spend it on the things they find really important: namely more benefits for bums, drug addicts, drunks, illegal aliens, and criminals, and for forcing their idiotic brand of Socialism on people with brilliant ideas like fining people for not sorting their garbage).

This will - in theory - get a lot more people using public transportation. But there's a teensy weensy problem....

"We've already reached our design capacity, and are going to need to make investments in expanding rail capacity." said Tom Radulovich, a BART director from San Francisco.

Anyone who's ridden MUNI in the last year or two knows that the buses and trains are getting more and more crowded, and putting more people on the existing lines without a major increase in service will likely lead to riots. But what do the Supes care... they need the money to make sure we don't have cigarettes in Walgreens, have calorie counts posted at Taco Bell, ID cards for illegal aliens, and
City-sponsored shooting galleries for heroin addicts!

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