Finally, a centre-right we can believe in! A right-wing politician who, instead of just pretending that various collective action problems do not exist, instead acknowledges them and proposes market-based solutions… I’m not always a huge fan of market based solutions to collective action problems, but if I have to choose between a market-based solution and no solution, I’ll take the market-based one.
What am I talking about? Toronto Mayor John Tory proposes road pricing for the DVP and Gardiner Expressway. This is a drum that I (and many others) have been beating for a long time. Here’s a piece I wrote for Policy Options a long time ago (link). This remains my favorite line:
Roads are congested because they are free. If we gave away cheese for free, too many people would eat too much cheese. Similarly, when we give away use of roads, we get too many people driving too much of the time. (In fact, people drive more than they actually need to, in terms of their own preferences. Imagine standing in line at the cheese stall, thinking ”half these people don’t really like cheese, they’re just here because it’s free.” That’s exactly what you should be thinking next time you are caught in a traffic jam.)