Sunday, January 08, 2006

Brain cramps and speed bumps

I am being repetitive but this stuff has to be hit (and hit hard) whenever it appears in print. In today's NY Times, Ann Hulbert ("Speed Bump") writes about traffic congestion and gets almost everything wrong.

She frets over the prospect of peak-load pricing in the DC area -- in place of "farsighted congestion control strategies like improving public transportation or regulating land use and development." It would have been nice to include as little as an iota of evidence that the "farsighted" stuff ever worked. Or try to address all the evidence that it has only made matters worse.

She goes on to raise the specter of $30 tolls ... while the "hoi polloi" suffer ever worse traffic. She cites the California experiments with tolled lanes but does not mention that the tolls were nearer $5 than $30, nor that many of the non-rich paid the $5 when it was worth it to them, nor the fact that general-purpose lanes move faster when some of the demand is serviced by tolled lanes.

Elite opinion is disdainful of flat-earthers and and creationists but is nothing but ignorant when it comes to the economics of public policy.