Los Angeles, CA: Metro directors question fairness of congestion pricing

Metro’s Board of Directors gently tapped the brakes Thursday on a proposal to explore a congestion pricing system in which drivers would be charged for using busy roads during peak traffic periods.

The board considered a report from agency staffers that recommended road pricing, along with a host of other financing measures that could be used to accelerate construction of 28 projects that Metro aims to complete in time for the 2028 Olympics.

But board members remained laser-focused on congestion pricing during two hours of discussion Thursday, and eventually voted to revisit the report next month.

That will give Metro staffers more time to address questions about the equity of a congestion pricing system, as drivers who can easily afford to pay tolls would be less affected than those who cannot.

“It seems punitive,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, arguing that LA’s transit infrastructure is not extensive enough to give all residents a meaningful alternative to driving.