Bumper-to bumper, horn-honking visitors via Manhattan streets is about as New York as bagels and Broadway. A plan to ease that drawback is tapping into one other mainstay of metropolis life: excessive driving tolls.
The thought, referred to as “congestion pricing,” includes utilizing digital tolling know-how to cost charges to automobiles getting into probably the most closely trafficked elements of city throughout sure hours.
Some massive cities already do it, together with Singapore, Stockholm and London, the place it may possibly value greater than $15 to drive into the town middle throughout peak durations.
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed it for New York a decade in the past and received a agency rejection from lawmakers who stated drivers headed into Manhattan already get slammed sufficient by bridge and freeway tolls and excessive parking charges.
However with the town’s subway system deteriorating, and politicians in search of methods to pay for a repair, the idea has gotten new life.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who stated final summer time that “congestion pricing” is an concept whose time has come, might unveil a plan to implement a system as early as subsequent week. A spokesman for the governor stated a committee, referred to as FixNY, is finalizing suggestions.
Alex Matthiessen, director of the MoveNY marketing campaign — probably the most vocal advocate for congestion pricing — says New York would turn into the primary metropolis in the USA to cost drivers underneath such a system, however stated others like San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles are paying shut consideration.
“We’ve a full-blown disaster,” Matthiessen stated. “Our subway system is severely underfunded; it’s fairly unreliable, there are delays and overcrowding and the state of affairs is probably harmful. No different concept has the dual advantage of additionally tackling a really extreme visitors drawback.”
There are nonetheless loads of roadblocks.
Democratic New York Metropolis Mayor Invoice de Blasio stated he likes the thought of getting automobiles off the road however is not satisfied excessive tolls is the best way to do it.
“I feel there are critical equity points relating to congestion pricing,” he stated at a current information convention, citing the monetary burden on drivers who cannot afford tolls as simply as the various millionaires who name Manhattan house. De Blasio has stated he prefers coping with the subway’s monetary issues by imposing greater revenue taxes on the wealthy.
Key particulars, like how a lot it may cost, or the place, precisely, drivers may get hit with the tolls have but to be unveiled. Bloomberg’s plan would have charged $eight to drive south of 60th Road, or roughly the southern finish of Central Park.
Adam Glassman, a Lynbrook, Lengthy Island-based lawyer, spoke in midtown Manhattan earlier than moving into his automotive to go house.
“It’s inconceivable to get into the town,” stated Glassman, who’s conversant in Bloomberg’s proposed plan years in the past. He commutes into Manhattan twice every week.
He is in favor of potential tolls. “I might be prepared to suck it up.”
Though no particular congestion pricing plan has been formally introduced, many agree that any system can be more likely to create surcharges for ride-hailing providers like Uber and Lyft. That is OK with Uber, which is behind a public relations marketing campaign backing congestion pricing.
“Customers of Manhattan’s congested roads ought to bear a part of the price of serving to to scale back congestion and enhance our public transit system,” stated Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang. “Everybody ought to pay their justifiable share to maintain New York Metropolis shifting ahead.”
Brooklyn state Assemblyman William Colton, a Democrat, stated any proposals that may create tolls throughout bridges into Manhattan which are presently free, or a system that may ping drivers in areas like Occasions Sq. south by way of Greenwich Village and into the Wall Street enterprise district, can be seen as an unfair tax by his constituents.
“That is going to have a adverse impact on working individuals, small enterprise individuals and seniors who’ve medical appointments in Manhattan,” Colton stated. “That is going to be an enormous drawback. I do not know the small print, however I am very leery.”
Commuter Joe Murphy stated he can be “completely against it.”
He lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and already pays for the George Washington Bridge, the place tolls vary from $10.50 to $15 a automotive, plus a midtown Manhattan parking storage. His half-hour, pre-rush hour commute is the quickest and best choice for him; utilizing public transportation would triple his commuting time.
“Simply to get to work, the price of parking and tolls and every thing is simply astronomical,” he stated.
Related Press author Verena Dobnik contributed to this report.