Thursday, April 17, 2008

The “city that works” … to take your money

Among the many ways governments try to get truckers and others to pay for roads is a new trick called “congestion pricing.”

Here’s the basic idea: Tolls go up during rush hour, so people will spread the traffic out over time, traveling before or after the traditional rush hour, so they can avoid the higher tolls.

On the surface, sounds great. Except when you realize that without a true split sleeper provision – one that lets truckers rest a couple of hours to wait out the heavy traffic –there’s no way for them to take advantage of the lower rates.

The feds have been heavily pushing this idea. And now, it turns out someone’s actually put it into practice.

In fact, the Illinois Tollway has had this system in place for some time. And the whole scheme assumes that truckers have far more control over their schedules than most drivers really do.

Chicago also led the way on privatization. They had one of the first highway sales in the Chicago Skyway. It seems as if they’re intent on leading the way into as many bad ideas as possible.

Many years ago, when the first Richard Daily was mayor of that town, it was known by a nickname – “the city that works.”

So how’s it working now? You be the judge – but it doesn’t sound too good to me.