street congested with cars in Manhattan

Manville on Building Equity Into ‘Congestion Pricing’

A Los Angeles Times column about equity issues surrounding “congestion pricing” as a strategy to manage traffic and cut emissions cited Michael Manville, associate professor of urban planning. Discouraging driving while encouraging mass transit use is the right thing to do, the column noted, but it asked whether charging for access to the roads creates a burden on lower-income communities. Manville argues that it is possible to put a price on driving while also maintaining a commitment to economic fairness. “The fact that pricing could create equity problems doesn’t mean it must. Nor does it mean that, for the sake of equity, all roads should be free,” he wrote in Transfers magazine. “Few equity agendas in other areas of social policy, after all, demand that all goods be free. Almost no one, for example, suggests that all food be free because some people are poor. Society instead identifies poor people and helps them buy food.”

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