I live on the mainland.
Nearby is an island with three towns on it.
There is a wide range of restaurants on both the mainland and the island.
The island is connected to the mainland with a bridge.
There is a proposal to introduce a toll for cars crossing the bridge. It is assumed (based on a nearby similar bridge) that the toll might be $4 each way, but less than $1 for local residents using the EZ-pass automatic toll system.
Owners of restaurants on the island say the tolls will destroy their businesses.
Owners of restaurants on the mainland say the tolls will destroy their businesses.
My question is: Is it logical to believe that both the previous statements could be correct?
Here is the way I see it....
If I live on the mainland and I want to go out to dinner, I might drive to restaurants on the island less frequently. Instead I will visit restaurants on the mainland.
If I lived on the island and I wanted to go out to dinner, I might drive to restaurants on the mainland less frequently. Instead I would dine more at restaurants on the island.
I am not going to eat out less because of a toll on a bridge. At most I am going to choose to eat at different restaurants. So the total amount of money spent at all the restaurants on the island and the mainland is likely to remain about the same.
But if more people currently choose to drive from the mainland to the island to dine than vice versa, and the tolls inhibit people from crossing the bridge, then business at the island restaurants will go down and business at the mainland restaurants will go up.
Conversely, if more people currently choose to drive from the island to the mainland to dine than vice versa, and the tolls inhibit people from crossing the bridge, then business at the mainland restaurants will go down and business at the island restaurants will go up.
Assuming that people eat out as much as they currently do, how can the proposed tolls kill businesses on both sides of the bridge?
(The real life situation is a little more complicated than I have described it because the island is actually connected to the mainland by three bridges, one of which already has a toll. But I think the same basic logic applies.)
Am I missing something?
Could the solution be to do what these clever people in Moscow have done which is to hang a restaurant from a bridge?