Congestion pricing hits the ditch in New York, providing moreevidence that lawmakers focused on their next election don't havethe stomach to impose user fees to provide necessary, long-terminfrastructure solutions. Most people don't get it yet --congestion and resulting lack of productivity create huge economiccosts in our global pathway cities, the country's primary growthengines and best real estate markets. The longer we take to fundnecessary mass transit and road improvements in these places, thegreater the ultimate costs, not to mention the increased potentialfor tragedies from greater hazards in aging transport networks. Ifleft the choice we will pull out a credit card and go into debt tobuy a flat screen TV rather than pay higher taxes or user fees forbetter systems to move people and goods more efficiently with lesspollution. That greater efficiency ultimately translates into lowercosts in fuel or less child care and greater opportunity to makemore money -- getting to more jobs and appointments. Maybe we wouldend up being able to pay for the flat screen in cash. But who helpsus connect the dots. Not our politicians.

The New York experience also points to the ludicrous lack ofregional infrastructure planning in our country. New JerseyGovernor Corzine helped torpedo the bill to "protect" hisconstituents from paying more to enter the city through PortAuthority tolls. Corzine, meanwhile, has been trying and failing toraise tolls on Jersey roads, which are also overly congested, toraise money for his own infrastructure agenda. Considering theinterconnected issues between New York and New Jersey road andtransit systems you might think everyone might benefit from aregional plan, including congestion pricing. Suburban legislatorspander to their voters, saying Manhattan gets all the benefits.Well, the city lost $350 million in annual federal aid, because ofthe thumbs down. Neither New Jersey nor New York can balance theirbudgets, and systems are literally crumbling. If people from theburbs can't get in and out of New York will that be good for theregional economy? (Oh by the way, did you know that flatscreen TVs consume five times the energy of older models? See howthat impacts your electric bill).

Prediction: Within five years, New York will have congestionpricing out of pure necessity. We'll see it in other U.S. citiestoo. So far London, Stockholm, Oslo, and Milan have imposedcongestion pricing in Europe, joining Singapore in Asia.

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Jonathan D. Miller

A marketing communication strategist who turned to real estate analysis, Jonathan D. Miller is a foremost interpreter of 21st citistate futures – cities and suburbs alike – seen through the lens of lifestyles and market realities. For more than 20 years (1992-2013), Miller authored Emerging Trends in Real Estate, the leading commercial real estate industry outlook report, published annually by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute (ULI). He has lectures frequently on trends in real estate, including the future of America's major 24-hour urban centers and sprawling suburbs. He also has been author of ULI’s annual forecasts on infrastructure and its What’s Next? series of forecasts. On a weekly basis, he writes the Trendczar blog for GlobeStreet.com, the real estate news website. Outside his published forecasting work, Miller is a prominent communications/institutional investor-marketing strategist and partner in Miller Ryan LLC, helping corporate clients develop and execute branding and communications programs. He led the re-branding of GMAC Commercial Mortgage to Capmark Financial Group Inc. and he was part of the management team that helped build Equitable Real Estate Investment Management, Inc. (subsequently Lend Lease Real Estate Investments, Inc.) into the leading real estate advisor to pension funds and other real institutional investors. He joined the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the U.S. in 1981, moving to Equitable Real Estate in 1984 as head of Corporate/Marketing Communications. In the 1980's he managed relations for several of the country's most prominent real estate developments including New York's Trump Tower and the Equitable Center. Earlier in his career, Miller was a reporter for Gannett Newspapers. He is a member of the Citistates Group and a board member of NYC Outward Bound Schools and the Center for Employment Opportunities.