Monday, 27 February 2012

News shorts: Bristol, Toronto, Atlantia and two articles mentioning pricing

Bristol

The Daily Telegraph reports that the UK city of Bristol is proposing a levy on parking spaces at workplaces in the city to help fund a bus rapid transit system. The intention is that it can raise £27 million from 10,000- 12,000 parking places. The charge would be effectively a tax of £1 a day imposed on owners of the parking places. Whilst it is driven by revenue, it is also hoped it will encourage a switch to public transport. The bus rapid transit system is estimated to cost £194 million, with £15 million to come from existing local authority funding sources and the remaining £152 million would come from a grant from central government if approved.  The programme this is being considered under was the same one Manchester was seeking to gain funding from if it had voted for a congestion charge (workplace parking levies are seen as a form of demand management like congestion charging).  Whether this controversial measure actually proceeds in Bristol is unclear, although Nottingham has managed to introduce it.   This isn't a form of road pricing, it is a tax on parking, so isn't strictly within the remit of this blog.

Toronto

The big transport issue in Toronto today is the battle between the Mayor and the Council over spending on public transport improvements.  He wants a new light rail line to be underground.  The Council disagrees.  However, one of the options under consideration to pay for any of this is congestion pricing according to the Globe and Mail.

Missouri

TV station KOMU reports that Missouri Senator Mike Kehoe is sponsoring a bill to turn I-70 into a toll road. The story says tolls would charge US$0.10 – US$0.15 a mile with the intention being to fund at least US$2 billion renewals on the road.


North Carolina


Trucking website Landline reports on concerns that tolling I-95 in the state would raise far more revenue than is needed for the proposed reconstruction and upgrade of the highway.

According to documents provided by the state, tolls would last for 40 years and bring in approximately $30 billion. That is nearly double the combined $4.4 billion in reconstruction costs plus the $10 billion to $12 billion in ongoing lifecycle maintenance of the roadway.

This suggests a bit more effort is needed to demonstrate what will happen with revenue beyond that forecast or whether tolls will be adjusted to avoid this.

Atlantia

Bloomberg reports that Italian toll road owner Atlantia has signed an agreement with freight operator Gavio SpA for Gavio to buy Atlantia’s share in construction firm Impregilo (which owns concessions in Argentina and Brazil). It also includes an option to buy Atlantia’s Turin- Savona toll road.  This follows the drop in Atlantia's credit rating which parallels concerns about demand on its main asset - Autostrade - which owns and operates most of Italy's national toll motorway network.  Atlantia is driven in part to expand its shareholding in South American toll roads by gaining control of its subsidiary.

Bloomberg also reports "Gavio’s Societa Iniziative Autostradali & Servizi (SIS) toll-road unit will shift its 45.765 percent stake in Autostrade Sudamerica, which controls Chile’s Autopista do Pacifico motorway, to Autostrade per l’Italia for 565.2 million euros...Autostrade per l’Italia will also buy a further 8.5 percent of Autostrade Sudamerica from Mediobanca SpA (MB) for 104.6 million euros, Atlantia said."

Greenbang claims congestion pricing is traditional

Greenbang claims to be the "smart technology website" so it is understandable when it published an article about a future using intelligent transport systems (although not called that) to better manage traffic.  However to say that in respect of congestion "the traditional response has been to build new roads, expand mass transit or institute congestion pricing" is a little off the mark.  Build new roads and expand mass transit, yes.  However, is congestion pricing traditional?  Maybe in Singapore, as it has been around in one form or another since 1975, but when the number of cities that have implemented it remains less than 10, it is hardly "traditional".  Whilst congestion pricing isn't the silver bullet to congestion, no single policy measure is likely to be more effective, and given the lack of widespread lack of implementation in part because of concerns around cost and technological complexity, I would have thought Greenbang could do better embracing congestion pricing rather than dismissing it (especially since no city other than Singapore has really introduced a sophisticated congestion targeting form of congestion pricing across a network).

New York Times writes about HOV to HOT lane conversions


An interesting article has been published in the NYT about a few of the implementations of HOV to HOT lane conversions in the US.  It writes about the Atlanta I-85 dynamic HOT lanes and moves in California and Virginia to remove the toll exemption for first generation hybrid vehicles.

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