Frisco Debates Downtown Traffic Fee

Motorists balk at prospect of paying up to $5 to drive to city center
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2008 4:27 AM CST
Rush hour traffic pours over the Bay Bridge as the sun sets in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez )
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(Newser) – A plan to charge motorists for driving downtown in peak hours could be a step too far even for famously green San Francisco, the Los Angeles Times reports. City officials say the plan, which would be the first of its kind in the nation if it passes, would reduce traffic and pollution—but reactions so far have been mostly negative.

Critics say the toll—which could be anywhere from 50 cents to $5—amounts to a regressive tax on drivers, and worry that public transport would be unable to cope with extra riders. Transportation planners stress that the money collected would be used to improve the city's transit system. A similar plan proposed for New York City last year didn't make it past the state legislature.