|Old Tranvia rails on Ave. Septima. A sign of things to come?|
|Indigenous people beg on a downtown sidewalk. |
Petro's budget plan would also invest a lot
in social services.
The plan would cost 61.1 trillion pesos according to El Espectador - compared with 38 and 33 trillion peso budgets by the previous mayors. And that would put Bogotá into debt.
But a glance at Bogotá's clogged and chaotic streets any rush hour shows that, unless the city makes dramatic moves soon, the onslaught of new vehicles will turn Bogotá into one big gridlock. Transit plays a huge role in every aspect of city life. Traffic jams steal productive hours from recreation, work and studies. Traffic's pollution damages our health. And the noise and frustration of traffic jams raises everybody's stress levels.
|Nowhere to roll: Cars stuck in a traffic |
jam in downtown Bogotá.
That's why Petro's idea of a London-style congestion charge is so vital to Bogotá's future, and why talk of lowering the price of gasoline is so destructive.
Petro's budget - if it's approved - is a huge gamble. If it works, it could mean sustainable economic growth for a long time to come. But if it fails, it could leave Bogotá still dysfunctional but saddled with a huge debt to boot.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours