Local Leaders Reject Idea of Congestion Pricing on San Diego Roads

North County leaders are rallying against the possibility of "congestion pricing" in San Diego.

SANDAG's executive director proposed the idea to charge drivers a fee to use freeways during hours of high congestion with the intention of meeting climate goals and alleviating traffic.

There are no concrete plans to implement the fee yet but some county leaders talked about it this week.

"This is being considered as a funding mechanism of the plan. It's critically important to me to not have our staff explore something that's gonna be a complete non-starter for me and many of the elected officials on the board," said District 3 Supervisor Kristin Gaspar.

The leaders say imposing congestion fees will add to the economic burden of living in San Diego,  and people with a low income would be hit the hardest.

SANDAG has declined to comment on the proposal. However, SANDAG discussed the concept of congestion pricing in a June webinar explaining the 5 Big Moves. 

"How it's implemented is going to depend on where you are," said Jonathon Hart, AICP, Principal Planner for CDM Smith. Hart took part in the webinar as an industry expert. 

"The users pay and I think that's the beauty of it," he said. "Right now we have a system where you pay regardless of whether or not you're using a particular facility. This really relegates the financial responsibility to the people who are making use of it and providing a closer link between your use of something and the payment." 

He added, "For every vehicle that's in your managed lane, that's a vehicle that's not in your general purpose lane." 

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