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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Congestion Pricing Showdown: Assemblyman Jerry Hill To Address San Francisco Supes

Posted By on Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 12:10 AM

click to enlarge Seriously, take Caltrain. You're allowed to drink coffee and everything.
  • Seriously, take Caltrain. You're allowed to drink coffee and everything.

San Francisco's idea to charge motorists $6 a day to enter or exit the city's southern border has spurred what could only be labeled a congestion pricing pissing contest. Peninsula officials are huffing that they'll impose a retaliatory $12 a day fee on San Francisco motorists -- and each individual town could end up imposing the fee of its choosing.

Didn't we form the European Union to do away with lunacy like this?

Assemblyman Jerry Hill of San Mateo is taking the Mercutio position: A plague o' both your houses. He'll implore San Francisco's Board of Supervisors at today's meeting to not impose any congestion fee between the city and the Peninsula. And, if the supes don't listen, he tells SF Weekly he'll work with the Assembly to deflate the city's congestion pricing plan.

"If they want to look at the option of congestion pricing in the Financial District, that's fine. I'd be happy to support that," said Hill. "But when they suggest congestion pricing at a city or county border for driving through a city, that kind of flies in the face of good regional cooperation."

click to enlarge Assemblyman Jerry Hill
  • Assemblyman Jerry Hill
Hill's confusion over the proposed congestion pricing runs deep. Isn't it high-handed of San Francisco to collect money of drivers both going into and exiting this city? How can one city/county collect a toll on a state highway? And, most pertinently, what's the point of introducing a pricing plan meant to drive motorists out of their cars and onto public transit while public transit is systematically being starved?

The Assemblyman said Peninsula motorists could be dinged to the tune of $1,500 a year, right when times, you know, they ain't so good. He hopes the Board of Supervisors listens to reason. But he isn't coming without a Plan B.

Should San Francisco move ahead with intercity congestion pricing "I'll introduce legislation in the California State Assembly to keep them from doing that."

And if, as Hill suspects, San Francisco would need to push for the passage of new state legislation in order to impose congestion pricing -- don't look to him for help.

Update: The supes took Hill at his word today. They voted, 9-2, to remove any notion of charging those entering or exiting the city's southern border from a federally funded study.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" is a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly, which he has written for since 2007. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers... more


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