by Chronicle Editorial Board : sfchronicle – excerpt
Gas prices are bouncing up. So are bridge tolls. San Francisco’s car insurance rates, parking charges and auto break-ins are infamously high. If there was a further inducement not to drive, here’s another: congestion pricing.
The concept finding favor with transit planners and environmentalists would charge drivers a fee for entering the downtown area. The benefits would bring the city more money for public transit and give paying drivers more room on the streets. Other blessings include less pollution, fewer dangers from zooming cars and quicker transit travel times…
It’s all good unless you have a hard time paying up. Critics aren’t sold on what translates as a tax on low-income drivers. There are significant details to work out: what to charge ride-share goliaths like Lyft and Uber, how to treat commercial vehicles such as delivery trucks, and where the money goes from congestion fees. Get ready for pressure for carve-outs for hybrids and electrics, drivers with disabilities, and unsuspecting tourists and conventioneers…
As with New York, San Francisco would need permission from Sacramento, where opponents such as major auto clubs and trucking associations are cool to the idea. Biggest of all is how drivers feel about another levy in the name of a traffic cure. Voters last year rejected a repeal of a gas tax increase, suggesting they favor spending more money on traffic improvements. Local bond measures for BART and other transportation upgrades have also passed…
Getting around in a car can be a maddening experience in San Francisco. Plenty of financial and logistical disincentives to driving are in place. An additional burden on those who need to drive is not a panacea to the daily quagmire.
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With the demise of many local businesses and a new determination by many to leave the Bay Area soon, further car wars may be a bridge too far for the residents and businesses struggling to survive the highest cost of living in the country.
With the highest rate of IPO over-valuation on tech companies that consistently lose money, San Francisco may want to keep some non tech businesses thriving to weather the next economic downturn. We need to conduct some surveys to find out why the businesses are failing.
It appears some efforts are already underway in Sacramento to may level the playing field between tech-based contractor-dependent corporations and other businesses. Our heavy dependent on delivery services may also be cut short soon as internet sales taxes, rising shipping costs, and package thefts put a damper on online businesses.
San Francisco’s heavy move into sports arenas may be a poor long-term gamble as well. Sports gambling and gaming along with expensive tickets amy not draw the large audiences over the long term. There is a fatigue factor that sets in after a while. SFMTA and City Hall have made a lot of assumptions on how the pubic would act and they have not always been right. Massive traffic jams may dampen tickets sales as they have dampened retail sales.