A Framework for Analyzing the Congestion Problem

Cite as: 61 Ateneo L.J. 978 (2017)
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The traffic problem currently enveloping Manila and other highly urbanized areas in the country is a direct cause of individual discomfort, as well as economic and productivity losses. Through this Essay, the Authors attempt to analyze the congestion problem by viewing the issue from both legal and economic perspectives. The Authors begin by addressing the congestion problem from an economic view using various examples to illustrate why traffic is considered a hindrance, yet at the same time, a correlate of economic growth. The Essay then views this vis-a-vis the concepts of local autonomy under Philippine law. This is followed by a discussion on the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Metro Manila Council to tie the concepts together and come up with a set of possible solutions to the problem.

With this, the Authors came up with three potential solutions: (1) equal sharing, (2) a situation where the marginal benefit equals the marginal cost, and (3) a situation where the Central Government steps in. Each solution is discussed taking into consideration feasibility and the potential complications that may arise if such solution was undertaken by the Government. The Authors then concluded that the last solution out of the three would be the most feasible given the current structure of government and the urgency of the situation. The “fixing” of the traffic situation is a tall task, one that cannot be fixed instantly. It will require coordination, setting up of good policies, and cooperation on everyone’s part. While the solutions give hope for change — and if recent news is to believed, legislators are moving in the right direction — what one must be equally hopeful for is that whatever solution is implemented, it must be sustainable, economical, and legally sound.

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