Supervisor Jim Desmond
We've known for a while now that SANDAG, the federal government, and the State of California have been looking to implement a per-mile tax. This hasn't been met with enthusiasm by voters throughout the country. However, now there's a synonym for the per-mile tax that is making its way to Southern California – "congestion pricing."
According to reports, LA Metro is preparing to release a blueprint for congestion pricing, meaning that motorists will have to pay for the privilege of using the freeways. This proposed tax is another way to charge hardworking individuals even more for accessing the same roads their gas taxes should fund.
SANDAG is looking at doing something similar to over 800 miles of San Diego County freeway lanes. This proposal is emblematic of a broader trend that we are witnessing across the country and the world. As I've highlighted, SANDAG is still trying to implement a per-mile fee on drivers. New York City is also looking at implementing congestion pricing.
And the reality is we will see this type of tax more and more as public transit ridership continues to decrease and lose billions of dollars. Instead of allowing the market to dictate the conditions, the government is obsessed with punishing the majority who drive to pay for the few who take public transit.
There is a concerted effort to change our behavior and tax us out of our vehicles rather than investing in improving our freeways' efficiency, safety, and cleanliness. SANDAG's finance plan states, "Charging fees for the transportation infrastructure that people use – for example, charging users for each mile they drive on the highway – can change travel behavior."
Government agendas should not be used to change behavior by taxing us into fixed-rail trains and buses. Instead of changing behavior, government entities should incentivize technology and innovation. Government should embrace what most people are already choosing and make it cleaner, safer, and more efficient.
The people have spoken; they choose the freedom of movement, not broken promises or additional taxes.