Update Dec 15: The Chronicle doesn't like the congestion pricing plans now on the table.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has ditched a controversial plan to study the possibility of charging commuters entering and exiting the southern part of the city a toll of up to $3.
A plan to study a fee for commuters who drive downtown, however, will proceed.
These proposals are part of the city's "congestion pricing" initiative. According to the Federal Highway Administration, congestion pricing works like this:
(Congestion pricing shifts) purely discretionary rush hour highway travel to other transportation modes or to off-peak periods, taking advantage of the fact that the majority of rush hour drivers on a typical urban highway are not commuters. By removing a fraction (even as small as 5%) of the vehicles from a congested roadway, pricing enables the system to flow much more efficiently, allowing more cars to move through the same physical space. Similar variable charges have been successfully utilized in other industries - for example, airline tickets, cell phone rates, and electricity rates. There is a consensus among economists that congestion pricing represents the single most viable and sustainable approach to reducing traffic congestion.
On Sunday, Rachel Gordon of the Chronicle laid out key components of the plans that were under consideration:
The idea is that the toll would reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions while generating an estimated $60 million to $80 million in net revenue annually to pay for such transportation-related expenses as transit improvements, street repaving, upgraded traffic signals and bike and pedestrian enhancements.
Motorists crossing greater downtown San Francisco and the city's southern border with San Mateo County could be affected by the proposed toll. (NOTE: This option rejected by Supes today), under the options now on the table.
In all three cases, the daily charge would be capped at $6 per vehicle, with no fees imposed during the midday, evenings or weekends. The annual bill for commuters driving in the toll zones would be $1,560, if they drive five days a week, 52 weeks a year.
The hours the charge would be in effect, the precise borders of the toll zones and potential discounts for people living and working within or near the boundaries are among the issues that would be refined and analyzed, should staff get the go-ahead to further evaluate feasibility of the concept, said Tilly Chang, the Transportation Authority's deputy director of planning. Full article
These proposals are laid out in the San Francisco County Transportation Authority's San Francisco Mobility, Access, and Pricing Study.