London is going to do it. New York City is going to do it (much as Mayor Bloomberg protests he won’t …).

Congestion charging.

You drive into the city during rush hour, in the morning, you pay.

Somewhere in the range of $10 to $50. Charges vary, based on the size of the vehicle, perhaps.

Collection of fees is apparently not a problem. Computers read your license plate, then you’re billed.

In Boston, you could charge anyone using any of the six major routes into Boston – Southeast Expressway, Massachusetts Turnpike, Route 93 South, Route 1 South, Storrow Drive, and the Ted Williams and Callahan tunnels. The Turnpike and tunnels could be charged at the toll booths (if they remained).

Of course, wouldn’t that lead to people taking the back routes into town? Gallivan Blvd, Morrissey Blvd, Route 99, Route 9, etc.? Perhaps. I don’t know how the other cities are going to handle it. In London, the charge will only apply to vehicles entering the “City of London”, which, presumably, has few roads in and out.

An alternative, perhaps, would be to add a surcharge to parking spaces, during certain time periods. Parking garages would have to collect the surcharge. Instead of paying $16-$30 per day, you’d have to kick in $40-$80 per day.

Oh, there are so many reasons why this wouldn’t work. The first time it was in effect, the TV news would have a young woman crying on screen, saying how she couldn’t afford to drive into the city to see her dying father, or something similar.

Plus, businesses, and even reasonable citizens would say, “Increase the cost of living in Massachusetts??? That’s crazy! We need to encourage businesses, encourage people to live in Massachusetts.”

Great. Move to Boston. Your transportation costs just dropped to the cost of a token CharlieCard.

What would be done with the money raised?

Well, public transportation, of course!

Some people would say, “Well, I’d take public transportation, but it’s inconvenient or unreliable.”

Not with the hundreds of millions of dollars raised from the congestion charging.

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