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Atlanta Considers Taxing Suburban Drivers Who Work-Eat-Play Inside City Limits

Will drivers bite the bullet or are lawmakers barking up the wrong tree?

Taxes, and their improper application, has been a theme in the annals of American history for some time.

From the Boston Tea Party, all the way to the $10+ you pay for a pack of cigarettes in New York City, Americans have been held hostage by the arbitrary value that governments imbue on certain goods and services.  Some of these taxes are at least somewhat fair, or, at least we’ve been browbeaten into submitting to them for decades or even centuries.

Every now and then, however, an idea comes along that is so far removed from reality that one cannot ignore it.

Such is the case in Atlanta this week, as lawmakers consider imposing a penalty of sorts for those who frequently visit the capital of Georgia.

Councilman J.P. Matzigheit says traffic has gotten so bad in Buckhead from drivers outside the city, that he has commissioned a study to look at possibly creating what is essentially a congestion tax.

“Over 90 percent, in fact, of the people that work in Buckhead, don’t live in Buckhead, so they have to commute in every single day,” Matzigheit said.

Matzigheit said it’s a quality of life issue for people who live there. His plan would be for people who drive into the city would pay a toll when they crossed a certain street.

The councilman was adamant.

“All options need to be on the table to address traffic. It’s a real quality of life issue that I’m committed to solving and will use all means to do that,” Matzigheit said.

He says city planners will study congestion fees, officially called cordon pricing, all year. Other cities like London and now New York have committed to the idea.

Atlanta traffic has been exploding in recent years thanks to the city’s prominent cultural position in America, as well as ATL’s prominence as the east coast’s shipping and travel hub.

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