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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Driving for dollars

Give thanks for where you live. Even if Harrison Square surpasses all expectations and creates traffic snarls the likes of which we have never seen, downtown Fort Wayne will still not be like downtown Chicago:

Motorists who insist on driving in downtown Chicago should pay a London-style "congestion fee" -- now $16 a day there -- to ease traffic jams, reduce air pollution and provide a bonanza of sorely needed funding for the CTA, the City Council's most influential alderman said Wednesday.

Finance Committee Chairman Edward M. Burke (14th) wants City Council hearings, to at least explore the possibility of charging motorists for the privilege of driving downtown.

London started in 2003 with a congestion fee of 5 pounds, roughly $10, that has since been raised to 8 pounds or $16.

On Earth Day, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed an $8 fee on cars and $21 on trucks that drive in congested Lower Manhattan south of 86th Street to raise $400 million for public transportation projects in the first year alone. The New York Legislature is considering the idea.

"It's certainly a very complicated issue and not one that can be rushed into. But, I thought as long as London is doing it, as long as New York is doing it, that perhaps it's an idea that Chicago ought to consider," Burke said.

Let's see. Government created the cities. Government encouraged driving in many ways, such as creating an elaborate highway system. Government gets billions in taxes on gasoline. But the problem is caused by drivers who "insist on" driving downtown. Sure, that makes sense.

Posted in: Our town


Charles E. Doehrman
Fri, 06/15/2007 - 7:34am

While I agree that a "congestion fee" may well be overkill for a problem that does need some creative solutions, I think that Mr. Morris has let his anti-government bias run a little too rampant here.

I fail to see how it was government that "created" cities or highway systems except as a response to public need or demand. Certainly, there was government involvement in this congestion situation, but our old friend, personal responsibility, had a big part to play, too.

tim zank
Fri, 06/15/2007 - 3:23pm

Regardless of who's to blame for the creation of the cities, traffic and congestion, the fact remains that imposing a user fee will do absolutley no good whatsoever.
The sad truth is, (if history is any guide) the user fee would be about as useful as a Big Al carbon credit or the proverbial "teats on a boar hog" .

Whenever any government entity creates a new tax (user fee) the funds NEVER end up going to the original problem. They get split off and spent on horseshit. Of course the tax never goes away. (see sales tax or food & beverage tax Ft Wayners)

The feds, state,county, & city governments of this nation collect WAY more money than is necessary to run things. The simple truth is they all spend like drunken sailors on leave (no offense intended).

Bob G.
Mon, 06/18/2007 - 6:13am

Take a page out of the middle east "tactics and strategy" handbook...

Make downtown areas a "NO-DRIVE ZONE".

Make the buses run on propane.

Delivery trucks will be exempt (but subject to searches)

Only police and fire vehicles are allowed in those areas as well as public transit.

Bikes and mopeds will be allowed.

Everyone else gets shot....oh wait, that's one too many pages from the "handbook"...sorry.