DC Streetsblog (Jan 6, 2012) recently had a post by Lewis Lehe, a grad student at the University of Leeds in England, on the case for road pricing. It's excellent, and Lehe does a nice job of quickly tracing the intellectual lineage in economic thinking about roads as a foundation for understanding the need for road pricing now. Writes Lehe:
"Since the 1920′s, economists have nurtured an elaborate theory of road pricing rules, but until recently, it has never been very practical to price roads on a per-mile, time-variable basis. The time and money wasted collecting the money weren’t worth it. The digital revolution, however, has recently given us E-ZPass, online bill-pay, database computing, and even plate-reading cameras. Putting a price on roads that varies according to demand, or “congestion pricing,” is suddenly practical."
The blog post has several excellent animated videos explaining different components of the road pricing argument, and they are worth taking a few minutes to watch. They would also be suitable for classroom use and presentations on road pricing.
All of this leads to his web site, priceroads.com, with the following mission: "PriceRoads fosters public understanding of road pricing. Browse around for animations, interviews, news, commentary, FAQ's, links and more."
All I can say is: It's about time! And thanks to DC Streetsblog for giving Lewis a domestic US forum.
I plan to be a regular visitor.