Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) officials have renewed a push for tolls for all lanes on freeways, with the aim of reducing congestion and curbing carbon emissions.
"This has not been a popular idea, and we’re not surprised by that," said MTC spokesperson John Goodman to KTVU News.
Under the MTC's plan, drivers might be charged a toll of around 10 cents per mile, theoretically encouraging people to consider alternative modes of transportation and reducing the number of carbon-emitting vehicles on local freeways.
Dr. Asha Weinstein Agrawal, a researcher with the Mineta Transportation Institute in San Jose, said to KTVU, "It’s really important to pair any new pricing initiatives with just giving people improved options for alternatives other than driving themselves on the freeways."
Officials noted that despite a state-mandated 19% reduction in carbon emissions by 2035, they are on track to achieve only a 17% reduction, leaving a 2% gap.
"On a per-capita basis, we are emitting fewer greenhouse gas emissions than we were. And that’s terrific, but we’re not far enough toward meeting the state target," said Goodman.
According to research, implementing a toll system would bridge this emissions reduction gap.
Several other cities, including Los Angeles, New York, and London, have already adopted similar measures with varying degrees of success.
MTC officials estimated that if all-lane tolling is implemented, it could generate approximately $1 billion annually. A portion of these funds would be allocated to invest in public transit, making it more convenient for motorists to shift away from road travel.
Source: KTVU News