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Zero Sum Game (in a good way)

[err, so now NY may get it together on congestion pricing, but the train of thought is relevant nonetheless]

While usually calling something a zero-sum game is a bad thing, in this case I mean it positively. The $500M for a congestion pricing pilot that New York has lost may still lose would go to somewhere else like Dallas, San Diego, Atlanta, San Francisco, Denver, Miami, Seattle or Minneapolis. I am a New Yorker born and bred, and am as disappointed as anyone about this, but I think in this case we all may be suffering from a slight case of New-York-is-the-center-of-the-world-itis.

None of these other cities have nearly the mass transit system that New York has. Probably combined their mass transit systems don’t carry half the passengers ours does, and most people living in those places think of cars as an absolute necessity for practically everything they do. In a broader sense, it could very well be an overall net positive that the congestion pricing pilots happen in other cities. Perhaps those places will make incremental progress in shifting people out of cars and more importantly, changing peoples' value systems when it comes to cars vs. other modes.

If we are really lucky, this could be the first wave in a national shift towards more rational thinking about transportation, which would definitely benefit NYC in the long term. In truth, I'm a lot less worried about NYC than I am about other cities and the country/world as a whole, so I wonder if it doesn't hurt to at least imagine the possibility of some greater good coming from Albany's (seeming) ineptitude.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 18, 2007 5:27 AM.

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