Thursday, March 13, 2008

Congestion pricing in Colorado

I-70 is the highway that leads from Denver into the Rockies, and every winter evening or week-end it is severely congested by traffic going or coming from the ski resorts. State Senator Chris Romer is leading the charge to do something about it and he seems right now to favor a congestion pricing scheme.

We have argued previously that congestion pricing is a good idea. The problem that people are grappling with here are the cars going to the ski slopes, which generates congestion not only along I-70 to the East of Denver, but in Denver itself. The proposal would impose a toll only during peak times for ski traffic, and only on a portion of the highway that is outside the city, hoping there would be no congestion in the city. The hope is also to scare away some of the truck traffic, but considering that this highway is a major East-West thoroughfare for the US, it is unlikely.

Seeing that so many people drive at predictable times along a very narrow corridor seems to be a perfect situation for a train service. Have the ski resorts pick up their clients with a bus at the train stations. And you then need not worry about tired, dangerous drivers on the way home from the slopes. And trains are not bothered by poor travel conditions, which are frequent in the mountains.

Incidentally, Chris Romer is the brother of well-known economist Paul Romer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There was a referendum a while back to do something about I-70. The railway option was beaten, the highway got widened. It obviously did not help.