Conservative Transportation Policy

Politico reports on conservatives trying to think of some ideas:

Kimberley Strassel, an editorialist for the Wall Street Journal, argued that Republicans would have to expand the electoral playing field by pioneering new initiatives in suburban policy.

“Conservatives have had a tendency to dismiss any quality of life issues that could be characterized as ‘green,’ like sprawl,” Strassel said. “It does affect people’s daily lives, and if conservatives can come up with ideas for making transportation, movement, communication work better, I think that would be a good thing.”

I’m not sure exactly what Strassel has in mind, but to my way of thinking an enormous amount of good could be done if conservatives were more interested in applying really basic free market principles to transportation policy. For example, why not allow developers to build as much or as little parking as they want to build when they launch a new development? Why not charge market rates for curbside parking on public streets? How about fewer restrictions on the permitted density of development? Why not reduce congestion on the most-trafficked roads through market pricing of access? It happens to be the case that most of the people who are interested in these issues have liberal views on unrelated political issues, but the specific set of views at hand don’t draw on any deep ideological principles, it’s just application of basic economic thinking to the issues and, as such, is something that should be completely accessible to conservative politicians looking to show that conservative ideas can be relevant to the concerns (environmental concerns, quality of life concerns, economic growth concerns) of a set of people who are disinclined to think of themselves as conservatives.