Opinion: Free public transit and roads without traffic? Sounds like a fairy tale, but Los Angeles can have both (Congestion Pricing)

Metro’s idea is to use the money collected from congestion pricing to accelerate the construction of eight major transportation projects, including a rail line through the Sepulveda Pass, so they are completed before Los Angeles hosts the 2028 Olympics. Congestion pricing could raise $12 to $52 billion over the next decade, depending on where and how the tolls were be applied.

Congestion pricing is really only fair if a city has good, reliable public transit. Otherwise, people who live in neighborhoods with poor transit service and no alternative but to drive are penalized by the fee. It would make sense, for example, to toll drivers heading downtown, where there are ample transit options during rush hours.

The revenue from the toll could be plowed back into building more bus and rails and lowering fares so it’s even cheaper and more convenient to take public transit. Riders would have an incentive to take a more environmentally friendly mode of travel. They would pay more to drive but they’d presumably enjoy less traffic-clogged roadways.