San Francisco Congestion Pricing - Concerns and Controversy

Concerns and Controversy

There were several negative reactions, concerns and criticisms as a result of the December 2008 public meetings and online hearing where the preliminary findings of the MAPS (Mobility, Access and Pricing Study) were discussed. One participant questioned the rationale for having to pay to drive on a public street. Others considered that congestion pricing is a regressive tax imposing a greater burden on those without a good option to ride public transit and on low-income commuters. Other considered too expensive to pay USD 6.00 for a short duration trips. Zone residents with children and inflexible schedules complained they would be unfairly affected. Another major concern is the lack of reliability and capacity of San Francisco's existing network of transit services, limiting commuters to switch to public transport once the congestion pricing is implemented.

The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce has also expressed concerns because of the burden it might put on retail sales, worsened by the ongoing recession caused by the financial and global economic crises, driving business away as people will go shop elsewhere in the region. A telephone poll, conducted by the Chamber of Commerce by late January 2009, showed that 61% of the voters opposed the congestion fee for driving downtown.

Staff working on the MAPS study have responded they are aware of the social consequences and therefore several mitigation measures have been included and are being considered, such as selecting a charge area that is big enough in order to avoid causing problems in adjacent neighborhoods; offering discounts to some drivers such as taxi cabs, low-income and disable drives; and charging half price for residents within the charge zone.

Read more about this topic:  San Francisco Congestion Pricing

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