California

San Francisco Wants To Charge Drivers To Enter Downtown

A congestion pricing proposal would have drivers pay $6.50 every time they enter a downtown zone.

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The San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) is considering implementing congestion pricing in the city's downtown area to solve some of the city's traffic issues. The main aims of the project are to "get traffic moving and achieve goals around street safety, clean air, and equity."

Congestion pricing is a broad term for a system that charges people based on the use of a roadway. The specific type under consideration for San Francisco is "cordon pricing," which charges people a flat rate every time they enter or exit a certain zone of the city.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the SFCTA is currently considering two possible zones for cordon pricing: a small one around the Financial District, Chinatown, Tenderloin, and South of Market neighborhoods, and a larger zone that would include North Beach, Russian Hill, Fisherman's Wharf, and Mission Bay to the south.

Under the current proposal, authorities would only charge the congestion prices during rush hours in the morning and the evening. The plan would also include a full exemption for the lowest-income drivers, and possible exemptions for people with disabilities and those who live inside the zone.

Everyone making $100,000 a year or more would pay $6.50 to enter the city center.

SFCTA claims that most of the people subject to the new fees would be higher-income drivers (making $100,000 a year or more) who commute into office buildings in the city.

Even so, not everyone is enthusiastic about the idea of making it more expensive for people to work or patronize businesses in the heart of downtown San Francisco, especially during a pandemic. It would amount to just one more fee on top of a load of taxes that California residents already pay to live and work in the state.

"CONGESTION PRICING IN SF?" said San Francisco political commentator Richie Greenberg on Twitter, "Nuts, ridiculous, anti-business, anti-tourist, anti-resident. What congestion? SF Financial District is still reeling from pandemic emptying out- it's practically a ghost town STILL, and hitting people in the wallet ISN'T rational at all."

Baruch Feigenbaum of Reason Foundation said "it's complicated" whether congestion pricing in San Francisco would actually reduce traffic.

"There's a concept in transportation called 'induced demand,' which means that if you take a vehicle off the roadway, another vehicle will use it because driving would be preferred over transit for most people," he says. If there is already pent-up demand for driving in San Francisco, then even if some people stop driving because of the congestion prices, others will fill their place when they see that there is less traffic.

Congestion pricing is supported by some libertarians as an alternative, market-based solution to the transportation issues posed by traffic congestion. It's a way to disincentivize driving that is relatively noninvasive and still allows individual drivers to make decisions themselves. And there is some evidence that it has worked quite well internationally.

"Congestion pricing of entire freeway networks has been successfully used to relieve congestion in several cities around the world," writes Randal O'Toole in a Cato Institute policy paper. "In 2004 Santiago de Chile introduced variable tolling of major highways in the city, and this proved to greatly reduce travel times and improve highway safety. Norway instituted congestion pricing on major highways in Bergen, Oslo, and Trondheim, which has both helped finance those roads and relieved congestion. Several highways in France use congestion pricing of all lanes, which has significantly reduced traffic delay."

"Economists do agree that highway congestion should be solved by pricing. Beyond that primary insight, however, there is much disagreement," noted Canadian economics professor Robin Lindsey in an overview of 100 years of economic writing on the topic.

Feigenbaum stresses that the desirability of congestion pricing "depends on how they're using the revenue."

He points to New York City's proposed cordon pricing system, where a majority of the funds will go to the very public transportation systems that the drivers are avoiding. Feigenbaum wrote on the plan, along with intern Joe Hillman, for Reason FoundationThey consider this a drawback because it means that a large part of the benefits paid for by congestion pricing in NYC will go to wealthier people near large public transit hubs and not the people who pay the congestion fees.

"Over the long-term," they say, "the congestion pricing revenue is likely to benefit transit commuters, especially those who live near a subway station in the city or a train station on Long Island, Staten Island or in Connecticut."

As of right now, the SFCTA study on how to implement the program is ongoing. The agency says that preparing a congesting pricing program would take at least five years. What happens between now and then could determine whether this is a good solution to traffic or another way for California to further inconvenience its citizens and waste their money. 

This article has been updated to more accurately reflect the details of San Francisco's cordon pricing plan.

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96 responses to “San Francisco Wants To Charge Drivers To Enter Downtown

  1. Can drivers pay in feces?

    1. No, they already have all they can’t handle.

      Oh wait, maybe you meant take some with you in lieu of paying. Yes, that could probably be arranged.

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    2. It’s not a tax it’s a feeces.

    3. Better we just seal it off, like Manhattan in Escape From New York.

      1. Better yet…let them in for free, make them pay to get out.

  2. I for one love all the non-manned toll booths. I dont fly because I dont wear a mask. As I drive around the USA and drive right thru the electronic tolls, I laugh and laugh. Georgia does not have interstate compacts with most states, so unpaid tolls are not accepted by Georgia to deny registration renewal.

    1. Neither are parking fines. I have probably racked up $2000 in Commifornia parking fines since early 2020.

      The car I tow behind my RV have Georgia dealer plates on it.

      1. That’s hilarious.

      2. What a model citizen just breaking the law and all. I see why you have such a fervent love for Trump now.

        1. unenforceable laws should be ignored.

        2. What law is he breaking? Is his practice legal? I guess it is, and I guess no law is being broken.

        3. Rosa Parks broke the law.

          1. +

        4. raspberrydinners
          July.30.2021 at 4:17 pm
          “What a model citizen just breaking the law and all.”

          What a bootlicker!
          I’m sure you never drive over 65 and always run out to make sure you pay more if your car is parked 5 minutes over the limit, right, slimy piece of lefty shit?
          Do you hand over your entire income to the IRS and ask them to return what they think you can keep?
          Do you post here to prove how fucking stupid TDS-addled assholes can be?

        5. He put a BLM sticker on his car so the law doesn’t apply to him.

          1. Mostly peaceful driving and parking. Mostly.

        6. What a model citizen just breaking the law and all. I see why you have such a fervent love for Trump now.

          It’s called “civil disobedience” and “non-violent resistance”. People use it to protest and resist unjust state authority.

          That must be a hard concept to understand for authoritarians, racists, and brownshirts like you, @raspberrydinners.

        7. Its not breaking the law. Its not paying corrupt government schemes that try to circumvent constitutional protections like the 4th which requires probable cause to seize person or property.

          If youre gonna setup electronic toll booths on roads where you cant turn around or pay cash, expect drivers to blow your toll off. I dont agree to pay tolls, so I dont pay.

    2. Don’t try that in Texas. There are cameras along the toll lanes and they will mail you a bill. If you don’t pay there will be heavy fines. I’m not sure how far the penalties go, i.e., whether there is a potential for an arrest warrant, jail time and car confiscation.

      1. That doesnt apply. Cameras cant prove who is driving and with dealer tags there is no registered driver to arrest or whatever corrupt states do along those lines.

        Its a massive loophole and I love exploiting it. The loophole being that unless a cop stops you and makes you sign a summons, you never agreed to show up in court. Most people dont know this but signing a traffic ticket in most states is bail in lieu of arrest to secure your attendance at court. Most people pay the fine, so no court date needed in the end but thats why if you refuse to sign, they will arrest you.

        Cameras have a huge 4th amendment problems as to probable cause. They have to prove who is driving because vehicles cant get moving violations. Well they can because nobody challenges this nonsense. Only drivers can attend court. Vehicles cant.

  3. Who wants to pay to enter a non policed zone to smell human waste and get assaulted or robbed.

    I mean buttplug might like that though. I don’t judge.

  4. It’s not a bad idea. The fly in the ointment is that there’s literally no way to avoid downtown if you’re coming from the north. First a toll to cross the Golden Gate, then a toll to exit it to the downtown, and finally another toll to exit the downtown.

    I hate going into the city, but when I do I park in Burlingame and take BART or the train in.

    1. Think of the poor marginalized souls in Sausalito!

      1. asshole flag!

    2. That’s a feature, not a bug.

    3. “I hate going into the city, but when I do I park in Burlingame and take BART or the train in.”

      How do you put up with all those folks who don’t hate Trump, TDS-addled asshole?

    4. It’s not a bad idea.

      I think it’s a great idea! SF serves as a warning to us all, and the more graphic that warning can be made, the better.

    5. The solution, of course, is to go around the Bay on the other side.

      It’s safer, too, depending on how far east you go. Highway 395 is about right.

  5. This would put a serious damper on Sevo’s in-city Chicken-Hawking.

    1. Hi. I’m Chris Hansen.

    2. turd lies. It’s what turd does. turd lies in every post he makes here. If turd includes any sort of statistics, they are either outright lies or manipulated such as to be worthless.
      Further, turd repeats a lie often only a day later. This is certainly dishonest, but it is a symptom, not a cause: turd lacks the mental ability to understand when he is called on lies. Some might wonder if this is associated with his pedophilia, others whether his admitted coke habit is the cause; I don’t know.
      But turd lies; it’s what he does.

    3. So you’re Sarah Palin’s Buttplug…
      You must have been upset when you discovered that she only uses you to buttplug the reindeer she shoots, so as not to have their feces leak out on the bed of her Ford 150.
      Well ButtPlug is as ButtPlug Does…

  6. Everyone making $100,000 a year or more would pay $6.50 to enter or exit the city center.

    They’re not fucking serious then.

    1. “Oh, very well. Make it $16.50.”

    2. turd lies. It’s what turd does. turd lies in every post he makes here. If turd includes any sort of statistics, they are either outright lies or manipulated such as to be worthless.
      Further, turd repeats a lie often only a day later. This is certainly dishonest, but it is a symptom, not a cause: turd lacks the mental ability to understand when he is called on lies. Some might wonder if this is associated with his pedophilia, others whether his admitted coke habit is the cause; I don’t know.
      But turd lies; it’s what he does.

  7. If you’re telling us that bureaucrats in San Francisco have tacitly admitted that consumers react to price signals, that is newsworthy.

    1. Isn’t it strange how they ended up with a semi-market solution, although having all the money go to government is terrible.

    2. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself—that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word—doublethink—involved the use of doublethink.

      1. You talking about today’s Democrats?

  8. The agency says that preparing a congesting pricing program would take at least five years.

    With all due respect — Bullshit!

    1. No, bribes. 5 years of bribe and counter-bribe is hard to beat when they can plausibly claim the old bribe has expired.

      1. They also have rival unions competing for the bid who will find ways to stop or delay installing the tolls if the city goes with a company whose employees are in a different union. This is why straightforward public works projects in blue cities can take decades

        1. Can take decades and WILL cost billions.

    2. They looked at their bible and it suggested 5-year plans. So they went with it.

  9. Just tell the toll collector that you are saving for your child or pet’s gender reassignment surgery and any toll wold cause hardship

  10. Sevo – what the fuck is this?!?!

  11. Everyone making $100,000 a year or more would pay $6.50 to enter or exit the city center.

    And how do they plan to verify that?

    1. Special badges and a very expensive system to monitor them.

    2. Just show your tattoo.

      Arbeit Macht Frei.

  12. Make it $65

  13. Also, why not charge $6.50 a day to be parked in SF. No permits for anyone.

    1. A few reasons off the top of my head:
      Because there are a ton of privately owned parking lots and very few public parking spaces
      Because street-level parking probably costs more than that for a day already.
      Because people who live in their cars for $6.50 a day and not have to worry about existing parking fees.

  14. It seems that charging people to leave might have the unintended consequence of worsening congestion.
    And that Uber ride you might take just got a shit load more expensive.

    1. I’m guessing ride-sharing drivers, cabs and shuttles would be exempt.

    2. Wasn’t CA trying to outlaw Uber?

  15. Hey look; Lefty-Scum charging themselves to get wealthy 🙂

    What was that saying about going after all ‘those’ people and then waking up one day and finding out you’re but one of ‘those’ people?

    1. “…waking up one day and finding out you’re but one of ‘those’ people?”

      They ain’t there yet. And when they are, it’ll be a tad late.

  16. San Francisco: used to love to visit, still wouldn’t want to live there.

    1. Agree. This is probably the tipping point in even considering visiting there again.

      1. If so, you’re a slow learner.

  17. >Economists do agree that

    Yeah, I get the point some Canadian professor is trying to make, but this particular sentence is nearly universally untrue. Ask 5 economists their opinion and you may get 7 different answers, several equally valid.

    1. My favorite economist quote is “all the economists in the world, placed end to end, will still not reach a consensus”.

      1. I’m tired of reading this sort of bullshit and the one directly above.
        Economics is a study of how people respond to incentives and, further, how wealth ends up distributed. Such issues are difficult to quantify, but open to scientific inquiry.
        Given that is it a social science, we can observe and attempt to construct blinded studies, but few of those are truly controlled, so a lot of economics is as yet open to question.
        But there are certain laws which are established such that they can be considered ‘established’ and to claim the ’10 out of 8′ bullshit simply shows you really don’t know what you’re posting about.

        1. Krugman is proof of the pudding that you’re talking smack.

          No social science is anything but mind pollution.

          1. The way prices respond as predicted to supply and demand is proof that you’re but one more econ-ignoramus.

          2. No, Krugman is proof that a scientist, who is celebrated by the media and widely quoted on social issues, has nearly always ceased to be a scientist.

  18. Most of the street congestion is by pedestrians avoiding the shitty sidewalks. Why not charge the bums $6.50 per shit?

  19. when local I’ll goto A’s games instead.

  20. So, if putting up a ring around a *public* area and charging people to enter it is ok – could we do that at the border?

    Coyotes are smuggling them in anyway, cut out the middleman and take the money directly.

    1. So, if putting up a ring around a *public* area and charging people to enter it is ok – could we do that at the border?

      We already do, just like SF wants to.

      If you make $100000 or more, immigration is going to cost you an arm and a leg.

      If you are poor, you can just walk into the US and on top get all sorts of free stuff.

  21. Economists do agree that highway congestion should be solved by pricing.

    Sitting in a traffic jam is a cost. You’ll quit doing it if it costs too much. Apparently there’s a lot of people that are willing to pay the cost. Sure, they’ll bitch about how much it costs and wish it didn’t cost so much, but I’d like nickel beer and free blow jobs, too, but that probably ain’t gonna happen either.

    Economics joke: Two economics professors are walking down the street and a brand new, top of the line Mercedes drives by. The one professor watches it go by and says, “Man, I sure would like to have one of those.” The second professor looks at him and says, “Apparently not.”

    1. “…Economics joke: Two economics professors are walking down the street and a brand new, top of the line Mercedes drives by. The one professor watches it go by and says, “Man, I sure would like to have one of those.” The second professor looks at him and says, “Apparently not.””

      I’ve posted that in several sites and an amazingly small number of people get it.

    2. And:
      “Sitting in a traffic jam is a cost. You’ll quit doing it if it costs too much. Apparently there’s a lot of people that are willing to pay the cost.”

      Those sitting there are (like that joke) making a revealed preference, which is enough to tell you that the claimed ‘aims’ are bullshit.

    3. I think the main thing proved by people sitting in predictable traffic jams is that they value their own time very little, as compared to what their job pays for their time. IF a tax on driving into congested areas reduced the hours wasted in traffic jams, it would benefit both those who moved their jobs to other areas, and those who chose to pay the tax (or had employers that paid the tax) and commute to jobs in the now less-congested areas.

      But I do not believe $6.50 will change anyone’s behavior. For the better-paid workers, employers will pay the tax for them, or they’ll deduct it from income taxes. In any case, the price of one McDonalds meal a day won’t discourage them. This will mainly affect the lowest-paid workers, such as cleaning staff, shop clerks, and restaurant workers – the ones that have to commute or go on welfare because they _actually_ need to be physically present to work.

  22. Meh. Manhattan has been effectively doing this for decades.

  23. How does one prove one’s income to an unmanned toll booth?
    Must one appear at some agency with a copy of a pay stub or last year’s W-2 to get a special toll-free tag?

  24. “…he main aims of the project are to “get traffic moving and achieve goals around street safety, clean air, and equity.”…”

    No, there is nothing to suggest that statement is true, and plenty to suggest otherwise.

    1. “……. and equity.”

      2021 overused word of the year.

      1. Beat out ‘sustainable’ this year.

  25. And the money collected will go into their CAFR only to be used to pay off other bills and mixed into the general funds to be lost forever

  26. “Congestion pricing is supported by some libertarians progressive faggot entryists.”.

  27. Nice article and please click here Status

  28. If you’re driving into San Francisco, you’re doing it wrong anyway.

  29. Everyone making $100,000 a year or more would pay $6.50 to enter or exit the city center.

    I wonder how they expect to verify this.

    If I make $200K a year and loan my car to my college kid who’s making $20K a year does she get a free trip through the virtual gates? If I borrow my kid’s car do I get a free trip through the virtual gates?

    What about a rental car — does Hertz confirm renter’s income and reject virtual gate fees charged to the car if at the time of crossing the virtual line the car was rented under a contract where all ‘authorized drivers’ made less than $100K a year.

    In reality, it seems more likely that

    Registered owners making $100,000 a year or more would pay $6.50 whenever a car registered to them enters or exits the city center.

    If the car is registered in two names and one makes less than $100K a year and the other makes more, how does that work?

    Realistically this charge would be applied to all registered car owners who didn’t sign up annually w/proof of low income the prior year. Eligible car owners that didn’t sign up and therefore got a bill in the mail for crossing the virtual gate would presumably be able to then sign up and get the bill waived.

    1. If the car is registered in two names and one makes less than $100K a year and the other makes more, how does that work?

      The same way it usually works in San Francisco: you sign up a boyfriend who nominally makes little money while you make a lot.

      Who do you think buys those below market rate designer lofts in SF? Low income families???

    2. Well, of course. By doing it that way they can charge tourists who aren’t going to bother sending them proof of income (but anyone who uses it on a daily basis *is* going to bother to send it in, because it ends up being thousands of dollars a year if they have a daily commute.) If there’s one thing politicians love, it’s taxing nonresidents. Just look at the extra taxes places like hotels and rental car companies have to pay.

  30. A sign of things to come. Only that people will be leaving the city as they are the state and never returning.
    With conditions in both Oakland and San Fran deteriorating as they are, the exodus of businesses will accelerate until there’s only oriental restaurants, tattoo parlors and pawn shops.
    Frisco has been loosing billions in convention business and now they wish to further sabotage what businesses that are left with an entrance fee just to drive into the city.
    Let them and make sure they carry the responsibility for anything negative that happens as well.
    But like politicians and bureaucrats everywhere, they always manage to elude even the slightest amount of responsibility.

    1. $6.50 to leave SF is a pretty good bargain. Their problem will then be who will SF tax to buy those $60,000 dollar a piece tents for the tent city or the $20,000 dollar a piece garbage cans? Certainly not those living in the tent cities!

    2. $6.50 to leave SF forever is a real bargain. Their problem will then be who will SF tax to buy those $60,000 dollar a piece tents for the tent city or the $20,000 dollar a piece garbage cans? Certainly not those living in the tent cities!

      1. Indeed. The answer to Frisco’s problems was $20,000 trash cans!
        Whoda thunkit.

  31. I don’t live in a “big city,” but if I did, I would have no problem never going “downtown.” So, stuff your liberal crappola tax fee.

  32. The $6.50 will be used to pay for all those $20,000 designer trash bins.
    Another noble cause taken up by the brilliant minds running Frisco.
    First there was $60,000 tents and now designer trash bins.
    Brilliant….just brilliant.
    The people running Frisco must be related to Chicago mayor Beetlejuice.
    At least there aren’t 120+ people being shot over the weekend like Chicago.
    What are they going to come up with next? Maybe painting Black Lives Matter on every major street?
    What surprises me is that the Bidung administration hasn’t called any of them to Washington to work on his team.
    Those guys really know how to run a town.

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