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Will congestion pricing (driving tax) come to California highways?

London, Stockholm and Singapore have it. Could LA County?

We are talking about congestion pricing. That’s a fee charged to drivers on peak routes at peak times. It is meant to encourage people to drive at other times or to use public transit and other ways of getting around.

Metro CEO Phil Washington has floated congestion pricing in LA County as one way to fund transit projects that are already planned under Measure M but need to be sped up in time for the 2028 Olympic Games.

He and transportation expert Michael Manville join DnA to explain congestion pricing, how its applied and whether it’s viable in a region where alternative options are limited and Angelenos assume a right to drive.

Manville tells DnA that congestion pricing is the only proven way to alleviate traffic woes because it “addresses what really is the root cause of traffic congestion, and the root cause of traffic congestion is that the price to drive on busy roads at busy times is too low to the drivers.”

He explains the economics of it in human terms: “Right now somewhere in Los Angeles County there is someone on their way to give birth who is being slowed down by someone on their way to buy potato chips. And faced with even a small toll the person who’s out to buy potato chips would probably just figure out a different way to do it.”