Thursday, March 13, 2008

Gridlock solution, nanny style

Why build new roads when you can just punish the drivers? A Colorado state senator has set up a web site to allow the public to collectively 'fix' the traffic problems on I-70 west of Denver during ski season and unsurprisingly, pure democracy has led to partial insanity:
If Romer's bill passed, cameras would take pictures of license plates and bill the owners of cars and trucks with fewer than three occupants during rush hours. The revenue would go first to paying for the cameras and other costs of the pilot project.

The money would next pay for parking lots at the top and bottom of the toll route where truckers could wait out the rush hour and avoid paying. Finally, it would help pay for bus service from Denver to and from the I-70 ski resorts
Not sure they can even do this since interstate 70 is a federal highway, surely protected by the Interstate Commerce Clause. It's the same as saying "ban all trains through our town from sunset to sunrise because they're noisy". Won't work. A free flow of commerce benefits everyone, which is why it can't be micromanaged by every little map dot along the route.

In the old days the solution would have been to build new roads or increase capacity on the existing ones. I-70 presents a unique problem due to the geography, including a tunnel, and it's a complex issue. The disturbing thing here are the short-sighted and selfish solutions coming from the public, reminiscent of the global warming issue. Trucks are carrying goods and commodities 7 days a week while most of the cars causing the weekend gridlock are going to the ski reports or sightseeing. Yet their selfish solution is to demonize and punish the truckers. And they've actually found a nut in their statehouse to carry the water.

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