July 2, 1999
Members of the Expenditure Plan Steering Committee
Alameda County Transportation Authority
1401 Lakeside Drive, Suite 601
Oakland CA 94612
Subject: Measure B and the solution for traffic congestion
Dear Members of the Expenditure Plan Steering Committee:
The Modern Transit Society believes in permanently decreasing or
even eliminating traffic congestion in a way that benefits all
transportation modes, including the auto user. To accomplish this
goal, MTS has written Solution for
traffic congestion, below. More information is available on any
underlined topic by first going to this web page:
All items below cost very little. Any by themselves would decrease traffic congestion. Together, they would eliminate it.
1) Implement employee parking cash-out (equalizing the parking subsidy). This would have an immediate impact of reducing car commuting by 25%.
2) Raise the gas tax in a "revenue neutral" manner. At present, about half of local road costs are paid for by property taxes. "Revenue neutral" means all gas tax proceeds would go toward reducing property and sales taxes.
3) Abolish all automobile subsidies (direct and indirect) and pay for this from the gas tax or other auto user fees.
4) Institute HOT (High Occupancy/Toll) lanes on existing lanes of roads, not by adding more lanes.
5) Eliminate all "traffic mitigation fees" and "developer fees" and "parking assessment fees" that subsidize the automobile. Alternatively, use these fees for constructing guideway transit instead of automobile-related construction that encourages greater auto use.
6) Eliminate parking requirements in industrial areas (and ideally, everywhere). If necessary, implement parking permits for neighborhoods (already common in some cities).
7) Implement traffic calming to create a more livable neighborhood and decrease automobile dependency. This will also decrease auto usage.
8) Any congestion still remaining will be eliminated by use of congestion pricing. This means charging for road use an amount that varies so that traffic is kept moving. As rush hour approaches, the price increases in stages in order to keep total cars using the facility at the same optimal flow level. The money raised could be used to build guideway transit because road users also benefit by paying for potential motorists to use alternatives. Congestion pricing also increases highway capacity (see graph, below), while reducing political pressure for more highway construction. [Details]
9) If any new lane or road is constructed, use non-stop toll collection (we call them "road fares") to pay for it. All moneys for the new lane or road needs to be paid for by its direct users and preferably privately financed to guaranty that there would be no government subsidy. The roadway needs to pay the same property tax rate as railroads, to be fair.