Federal Government Steps Up Effort to Cut Gridlock

Congestion pricing is one part of the Federal Government's plan to ease traffic woes.© Getty Images

Environmentalists are praising an announcement by the federal government last week to spend $848 million to bolster efforts in five major American cities to cut traffic congestion and improve overall urban transportation performance. Under the Urban Partnership Agreement Program, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis, and Miami/Ft. Lauderdale each are slated to receive federal grants ranging from $354 million down to $63 million to help improve the efficiency of their respective transportation systems.

In addition to funding variable tolls to relieve traffic congestion during rush hour ("congestion pricing"), the grants support innovations such as better mass transit, traffic management, telecommuting and other so-called "smart market incentives" such as pay-as-you-drive insurance.

"Congestion pricing can speed commutes, cut gridlock, generate new revenue for innovative transit, help clean the air and address climate change," says Michael Replogle, transportation director for the nonprofit Environmental Defense. "These grants support new tools to improve mobility and cut transportation pollution at the same time."

Sources: Envrionmental Defense; Moving The American Economy