Pay For Use

The Carbon Efficient City delves into transportation networks and the fact that, by definition, it is only useful to the extent it effectively connects people with the things they need.    I think of my own circumstances, living in a SFR 50 miles away from work and school.  There is definitely a transportation network that would take me where I need to go, but would entail a roundtrip commute time of more than 4 hours, double the amount of my driving as a SOV.  There would need to be a really big incentive for me to utilize mass transit and forgo the luxury of driving my own vehicle.  By driving my own car, it adds more time to my day which I can be productive at either work or school.  However, the article in the New York Times “Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend On It” points out the government is spending more and more in helping individuals, subsequently, it isn’t brining in enough revenues and is deeper into debt.  Concurrently, it isn’t in a position to prepare for future needs in terms of infrastructure, disaster, crisis, etc.  The general population has a demand for utilities, infrastructure, government programs, but they are not paying for it.  Correction – they are paying for it, but not in an amount equal to its worth. 

I think things should be changed so that people are paying more for scarce resources such as water and energy.  They should have to pay more for the right to consume without caution, contribute to pollution, emit CO2 without care, etc.  It doesn’t seem as if anything gets through to people better than being personally affected by their decisions.  If they had to pay more for water or energy use during peak times, then perhaps they would learn to shower off-peak, or make different choices such as not showering every day, spot washing and using dry shampoo, investing in technology so that water didn’t come out until the temperature was warm enough, minimizing the wasting of water while it’s warming up but just running down the drain unused.

Individuals should have to pay more for infrastructure and roads; there should be tolls for those driving during peak hours without carpooling.  Perhaps a system could be instituted where a vehicle has a decal as to its weight that is read by the magnetic readers such those on tolled roads.  Every 200 pounds more than the weight of the car would qualify for a break-even, anything less would require those drivers to pay a price to travel alone in peak periods, anything more would incur a rebate for that driver for utilizing the car to its maximum capacity.


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