The Daily Parker

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Chicago contemplating congestion charge

Good idea:

Drivers parking in public garages and lots in the central business district would pay an extra $2 on weekdays under Emanuel's plan. It would come on top of the current $3 city parking tax that goes into the general fund, officials said.

The money generated by the new tax would be used to rebuild two CTA "L'' stations downtown (the specific stations are still to be determined) and launch a long-planned bus rapid transit system, officials said.

For drivers who complain they already are paying too much, in many cases $30 a day or more to park downtown, the congestion tax is intended to provide strong motivation to switch to buses and trains.

In economic terms, they're aligning incentives. By the way, the congestion isn't on downtown roads so much as on the highways leading into downtown. Driving on the Kennedy or Eisenhower during rush hour is an experienced matched only by driving through the Lincoln Tunnel on days that end in "y."

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