City rights

Today I’ve learned that NYC tried to implement congestion pricing but was foiled by their state government, and that Washington state is considering “allowing” cities to set speed limits on the roads that those cities build, maintain, and patrol.

America’s cities are responsible for over 80% of the population and 90% of the nation’s GDP. 1 Yet this is the United States, not the United Cities, and our atomic units of governance are large land areas that generally have capitols in sparsely-populated areas. They tend to overrepresent rural interests and prioritize highways and social conservative issues with a dismissive attitude toward the collectivist preferences of dense population centers. Rhetoric from the right often extolls the virtues of local decision making, but they generally mean to empower states.

Remaining competitive in an increasingly urban world is going to require more attention to the needs of cities. Our mayors need to fight for city rights.

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