One of the most congested metropolitan areas in the U.S. is considering charging drivers around $4 to enter one of its busiest neighborhoods. A group of governments in the Los Angeles area conducted a study about implementing a congestion charge for drivers in and around Santa Monica, The Los Angeles Times reported last week.
The study looked at a small area near the Interstate 10 and 405 freeways. The area straddles Los Angels and Santa Monica and is one of the busiest in LA area since it includes the Santa Monica pier, high-profile shopping destinations, and beaches.
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The city report suggests a $4 charge to enter the area, which the study says would reduce traffic and overall miles driven in the area by 20 percent. In addition to the decreased traffic, the report found that cycling, public transit, and walking would increase marginally by around 7 percent. Other benefits include reduced pollution and speedier public transit with fewer cars on the road.
Any driver entering the area would be charged automatically via toll booths equipped with license plate readers. Those who enter and leave the area in the same day would only pay the fee once, while residents of the area would pay just 40 cents. The report also suggested a low-income driver discount of 50 percent to $2.
LA's question of a congestion charge comes as New York City inches closer to becoming the first U.S. city to implement such a regulation. New York's congestion problems have only grown in recent years, but unlike the Big Apple, LA doesn't have a sprawling and robust public transit network.