With cost of driving about 21 cents a kilometre, or $16.69 an hour, a “No” vote will be expensive

Buried deep in the new Mayors’ Council assessment on the cost of congestionabout $2 billion if the Mayor’s Plan investments in transportation and traffic are not approved — is the conclusion that the cost of driving for the the average driver is about 21 cents a kilometre. Stated in time, it’s about $16.69 an hour.

Cut congestion and you save plenty, easily a couple of dollars a day compared to the roughly 38 cents a day the Mayors’ Plan would cost.

Am I missing something here? Shouldn’t that make a No vote out of the question?

Total cost of congestion to drivers is thought to be more than $400 million, including a “deadweight cost” of more than $200 million. (If the referendum fails, that deadweight cost should be renamed the Bateman Factor to commemorate anti-transit campaigner Jordan Bateman.)

The No advocates say they’re not in favour of congestion, they just want to teach Translink a lesson. Isn’t that kind of like voting to cut the police budget because the crime rate is rising? Or slashing health care because you don’t like the health minister?

Enough. Here’s the calculation for the economists in the crowd, from page 29:

The cash costs of driving assumed to affect the driving decisions were assumed to include fuel costs (with tax) and maintenance cost. These costs were estimated under the Auto Operating Costs and Truck Operating Costs components of the cost model. For autos, this cost amounted to $0.17 per km. For trucks, data on vehicle maintenance costs was available only combined with other vehicle costs, including depreciation and financing, as “other vehicle operating cost”. Vehicle maintenance was assumed at one third of those costs. Together with fuel costs, truck costs of driving amounted then to $0.76 per km. The weighted average of the two figures (with weights based on the share of trucks and autos in their combined traffic volume) assumed for the analysis amounted to $0.21 per km.
Value of time and average speed were the same as discussed earlier in this report. Value of time for trucks was assumed at the same value as that for autos. In addition, value of time for autos was adjusted for (or multiplied by) the average vehicle occupancy to reflect the idea that vehicle passengers also suffer the consequences of congestion. The weighted average of value of time for autos and trucks (with the same weights as for vehicle costs) amounted to $16.69 per hour.
The table shows that deadweight loss is estimated at $220.79 million. In addition, excess accident costs amount to $121.96 million, excess emissions costs amount to $15.78 million, and excess transit travel time amounts to $48.49 million. Total costs of congestion are thus estimated at $407.02 million.