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Government Group Suggests Charging Calif. Motorists in War Against Smog

July 6, 1990

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Motorists in Southern California who run errands or commute alone during rush hour should be penalized financially, a smog-reduction task force recommended.

″Over 70 percent of our air pollution problem is caused by mobile sources,″ said Judy Wright, who led the group set up by the Southern California Association of Governments.

″There aren’t many more smokestacks to go after, so we have to go after the mobile sources.″

Wright suggested that one way to penalize motorists would be through extra fees on a toll road or bridge if the driver is alone in the car.

Stickers would show whether a vehicle was authorized to be on the road during specific hours. The driver could be fined if found driving during unauthorized times, she said.

The task force suggested test projects in western San Bernardino County, which has many homes and relatively few jobs, and in Los Angeles County’s South Bay area, which has lots of jobs, but few homes. Both areas are besieged by commuter traffic.

The association set up the task force last year after another agency, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, issued a long-term plan for cutting smog.

The recommendations won’t go into effect for at least a year and perhaps longer, said association spokesman Mario Guerra.

″We probably won’t see a lot happening for a while, but the proposals are important because they recognize that driving is a right, not a responsibility, and people need to realize that,″ Guerra said.

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