August 27, 2015
A long time supporter of road pricing, Toronto Star columnist Christopher Hume interviewed Martin Collier about the Ontario Government's slow progress on HOT Lanes in the GTHA. Los Angeles and San Diego installed them twenty years ago...!
By CHRISTOPHER HUME
... HOT lanes mark the start of a more democratic and equitable approach to the sharing of public resources.
“When a new road opens,” says Transport Futures founder Martin Collier, “people assume they can use it for free. When new transit opens, people assume they will have to pay to use it.”
According to Collier, (the province's) mistake was to close the HOV lanes after drivers had grown accustomed to them but before HOT lanes were introduced...
As Collier also points out, even the temporary HOV lanes led to “a huge spike in the amount of car-pooling and a sudden increase in the sale of mannequins.”
Though critics worry that HOT lanes will be too expensive for the driving poor, history tells us otherwise. “In the U.S.,” Collier notes, “low-income drivers are the most supportive of HOT because they’re the ones who are usually stuck in traffic.”
Besides, part of the American approach is to spend money raised by tolls in the area where it is collected. Those who fear the cash will disappear into general revenues find this reassuring. In addition, “dynamic pricing” means drivers pay different rates at different times...