PDOT Budget Moves Forward

Over at Commissioner Sam, Sam has outlined the Portland Office of Transportation Budget he has submitted to the Mayor, including a 17% reduction in the General Transportation Revenue fund (driven primarily by reductions in gas tax revenue).

I am very intrigued by one item in the “change initiatives” list:

Accurately price transportation trips and services

I’m assuming this refers to the idea of making mode choices reflect their true costs, including externalities, so that consumers make ‘market choices’ that reflect the real impacts. If so, I’m wondering if this would imply and or all of the following:

  • Capturing the hidden subsidies and environmental impacts of automobiles with either a substantial local gas tax or some kind of congestion fee like London’s center-city surcharge?
  • Making transit fares reflect the true cost of the service, perhaps with some credit for more efficient use of the infrastructure?
  • Paying people to walk and bike, capturing the positive externalities for the environment and public health?

What do people think?

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