|Antanas Mockus launches his campaign yesterday. (Photo: El Tiempo)|
Mockus shows again his independence. While other candidates make populist proposals, such as eliminating the Pico y Placa policy - which would increase traffic congestion, at least in the short term - or promise a subway and freeway network, which would bleed the city's budget dry and not happen for many years, leave it to Mockus is proposing to make drivers pay.
Of course, Mockus's proposed congestion charge is the sanest, most effective and sustainable way to resolve Bogotá's tremendous traffic jams while at the same time financing public transit. Cities including Singapore, London and Stockholm use such charges.
|Time is money: in central Bogota,|
drivers pay for congestion in lost time.
It also makes for social justice: while only a small minority of Bogotanos have private cars, private cars occupy 80% of road space, making everybody wait in traffic jams.
Mockus also promised to build cable cars lines to hillside neighborhoods and to keep expanding the Transmilenio express-bus system. All of these are sensible proposals sustainable in the long term. But with other candidates rushing to promise the impossible, will voters listen to candidates like Mockus and Enrique Peñalosa, whose plans are more modest, but might actually get done?
Perhaps Bogotanos learned their lesson from current suspended Mayor Samuel Moreno, whose campaign promises included a subway and new Transmilenio lines, but has delivered only a single expensive bridge overpass (which hasn't solved the traffic jams) and lots of corruption.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours