While heading out for a morning mail run I tuned in to KGO Radio to see what Ronn Owens was talking about. Turns out Ronn is on vacation, and Brian Copeland was sitting in for him. Brian had the Deputy Director for Planning for the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, Tilly Chang.
Apparently, traffic in downtown San Francisco moves at only 5 to 10 miles per hour. While this is clearly a problem, the proposed solutions discussed today were simply ridiculous.
One of the proposals being considered is to charge a $3 “toll” to any non-San Francisco driver who crosses into or out of San Francisco via San Mateo County during peak commute hours. There are essentially three ways to get your car into or out of San Francisco: The Golden Gate Bridge (toll going out), the Bay Bridge (toll coming in), or via the peninsula (aka San Mateo County).
I don’t really want to get into the details of the Congestion Pricing Study (you can read all about it here or by simply Googling “San Francisco congestion“. Instead, I want to highlight some of the ridiculous thoughts expressed by Ms. Chang and other bureaucrats and politicians on the matter.
San Mateo County has reportedly responded to the possibility of such a pricing scheme by declaring that they would charge a $6 “toll” for San Franciscans traveling into or out of their county. Ms. Chang’s (paraphrased) response? “Oh, they don’t need to worry. Portions of the money will collect will be shared with San Mateo County. ” So, in other words, the government of San Mateo County is going to get a portion of the money San Francisco is going to steal from San Mateo County residents. Well, isn’t that grand? The residents of San Mateo should rest easy knowing that they’re going to have to pay an extra $6 to handle any business in San Francisco since San Mateo County is going to share in the ill-gotten profits. Say what?!? Just another example of government looking out for itself. No concern about the people who will be paying these fees, as long as the various governments are paid off.
This already had me steaming. But then, a woman called who lives in a condo complex that literally straddles the border between Daly City (in San Mateo County) and San Francisco. This woman lives in the San Francisco side of the complex, (pays San Francisco taxes, votes in San Francisco elections, etc) but has to travel into Daly City to simply exit the complex. So she was concerned that she would have to pay this fee, despite being a San Francisco resident. Ms. Chang’s (paraphrased) response? “Don’t worry, we’ll give those on the borders a 50% discount on the fee. And, most people don’t realize this, but 75% of the congestion traffic is actually people that live in San Francisco.” Again: Say what?!? Three-quarters of the cars causing congestion in San Francisco is caused by people who live in San Francisco, and their proposed “solution” is to charge non-San Francisco residents a fee to come into (or leave) the city? And they think they’re being generous offering San Francisco residents a 50% discount despite forcing them to pay a fee simply because of their proximity to these imaginary lines?!?
Still think government is your friend? Does this sound like you’re being served? Could private roads be any worse? After all, your taxes are already paying to maintain these roads and provide for Ms. Chang’s job. But that’s not enough. If you don’t use the roads when and how they want you to, you’re going to have to pay additional fees. How can you continue to support such an inane system? Seriously, please comment and let me know.