New York Times: "In reality, the government is a monopoly provider of road space, and the government has largely chosen to give it away. It’s no surprise, then, that the vast majority of American commuters drive to work alone, or that all those lonely commuters (plus taxis, Ubers, buses and delivery trucks) cause congestion.
"When the government holds down the price of something people value, Mr. Manville said, we get shortages. And congestion is effectively a shortage of road — one that occurs at the peak times when people want to use it most.
"If we had that problem with other kinds of infrastructure or commodities, we’d charge people more for them. If airline tickets were particularly in demand, their prices would go up. If there were a run on avocados, grocers wouldn’t respond by keeping them as cheap as possible. . . .
"Today, because most people seldom pay directly for roads — or because general funds do — it can seem as if no one does.
“'Therefore the street transportation system has no cost,'” said Yonah Freemark, a doctoral student in city planning at M.I.T., who runs the blog The Transport Politic. 'And therefore we can just expect to have unlimited parking, we can expect to have unlimited access to neighborhoods, for whatever reason, for free.'
"Take those expectations to their logical conclusion in a major city today, and you get 10-mile-per-hour road speeds, rampant double parking, clogged intersections and worsening commute times. You get, finally, the political will for congestion pricing."
CCEC: Congestion pricing is heavy lift in most communities, but there are other practical tools such as paid parking that provide similar benefits.