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CA State Senator Suggests Rush Hour Fee To Cut Down City Congestion

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- State Senator Scott Wiener has an idea that will likely prove to be wildly unpopular: congestion pricing.

"We already have a form of congestion pricing. If you cross the Bay Bridge during rush hour, it's higher toll. That's congestion pricing," Sen. Wiener told KPIX 5.

The idea is much like crossing the Bay Bridge--if you cross into certain areas at certain times, say South of Market Street in San Francisco at rush hour, you pay.

"It can reduce congestion significantly and also generate significant funds for public transportation. It's not just about not wanting people to drive, you have to give people options and better transportation," said Wiener. However, he admitted it's a hard sell.

At least one visitor to San Francisco was dubious about the idea.

"I don't love it, I don't love the taxing for it, government should be figuring out ways to fix it," said Deb Meisner from Minnesota.

Under Sen. Wiener's vision, there would be a pilot program for cities that chose to implement it and the funds generated would go to public transit projects.

"If it's going to public transit, having more public transit as opposed to cars in the city, I think is a much better thing," said Conor Mitchell of San Francisco.

Senator Wiener co-sponsored legislation on the subject during the last legislative session, but has no plans to do so this session. He may introduce it again next session, however.

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