Congestion Relief - Robin Lindsey
"Congestion Relief: Assessing the Case for Road Tolls in Canada" is required reading for anyone that wants to comment in anyway about "solving" congestion.
This post started as a collection of excerpts but it quickly deteriorated to quoting every other paragraph. It'd be quicker if you just read the paper for yourself.
The economics of road congestion are counter-intuitive. I'm tempted to print a copy and mail it to everyone on Council.
Updated: one I can resist is this:
As Kitchen (2006) and other have argued, municipal infrastructure should be financed on the basis of benefits received
We should build infrastructure simply because upper leves of government are willing to pay for it. We should built it if it makes sense to build it in the first place, and the increased economic activity will actually pay for its future replacement.
Another update, because I can imagine this argument coming at me already:
[In arguments again road pricing...] Road pricing is inequitable: The road-pricing literature generally distinguishes between vertical equity and horizontal equity. Conclusions are mixed in the papers on vertical equity. In an early and insightful analysis, Small (1983) assessed the incidence of congestion tolls on three income groups. He found that all three groups would be better off either if aggregate toll revenues were redistributed as a lump-sum transfer to everyone or if the revenues collected from each group were redistributed back to that group. In general, higher-income groups are likely to gain the most from tolls because they place the greatest value on travel time savings. Lower-income groups benefit to the extent that they use public transit, which speeds up if congestion is reduced. Empirical studies show that the mix of people who use HOT lanes is quite varied: even lower-income people do so when they are especially pressed for time.