The good, bad and ugly of congestion pricing

The good, bad and ugly of congestion pricing

Congratulations to Gov. Cuomo. He’s taken a threat by acknowledging that individuals who drive into Manhattan are imposing a burden on everybody else, and may pay a toll. Alas, the small print of his plan to handle this — which quantities to a money seize from the town to the state with no assure that we’ll get higher subways or roads — don’t add up.

On Friday, Cuomo’s panel on congestion launched its report. The site visitors half is strong. A report variety of automobiles, SUVs and vehicles are attempting to get round in much less area, since we even have a report variety of cyclists, walkers and development websites.

So the panel proposed an answer: Over two years, regularly impose tolls on drivers. Taxi, Lyft and Uber riders would pay a $2 to $5 surcharge throughout the day and night to enter core Manhattan, both from 96th Avenue or 60th Avenue, or to take a trip inside Manhattan under 60th Avenue.

Truckers would pay $25.34 to enter Manhattan under 60th Avenue. Automotive drivers, as much as $11.52. They’d get a rebate on their tunnel tolls in the event that they didn’t take a free bridge.

This could increase about $1.5 billion, all of it going to transit — together with significantly better transit to japanese Queens and Brooklyn.

That’s all good.

And Cuomo is appearing partially as a result of in the case of order on the streets, Mayor de Blasio has failed. Because the report notes, the NYPD has fallen down in stopping drivers from blocking the field at intersections and double-parking.

“Nobody will change their habits when nobody is holding them accountable,” the report says.

Then, too, metropolis employees park their personal automobiles throughout Manhattan, utilizing city-issued paperwork to commit this theft of metropolis property. “These placards are used illegally,” the report says. So the town is contributing to large monetary fraud in plain sight by its workforce.

However congestion pricing fails large in a method: Not one of the cash would go towards the maintenance of the East River bridges that many drivers should journey over to get to Manhattan. Nor would the cash go to maintaining roads throughout the metropolis.

Drivers who pay a charge ought to anticipate higher roads in return. Each different downstate bridge and tunnel, whether or not run by the MTA or the Port Authority, prices drivers a toll and pays for bridge maintenance, plus transit, out of that toll.

The danger is that finally, drivers will face each a congestion-pricing charge and new bridge tolls, as the town should get the cash to take care of the bridges from someplace.

Having the state soak up congestion-toll cash whereas the town pays to maintain up roads and bridges creates a weird disconnect. Why ought to the town pay to take care of them when the state derives the cash from the individuals who use them?

True, the cash is meant to go to the MTA, which is nice for metropolis residents and guests.

Besides it’s not clear we’ll get our justifiable share. We already don’t. Cash in MTA taxes from the 5 boroughs subsidizes MTA tasks that don’t profit subway riders, just like the East Facet Entry venture to convey Lengthy Island Rail Highway trains to Grand Central.

The hazard is that congestion cash frees up extra of the MTA’s current billions from the town for such tasks.

It’s not signal that the report, even because it proposes to boost this new $1.5 billion from automotive and truck customers over the following two years, nonetheless desires the town to pay an extra $418 million for the MTA’s present “subway motion plan.”

That plan, keep in mind, is for the MTA’s emergency investments in subway alerts and tracks, to attempt to repair a damaged system. For six months, Cuomo has been making an attempt to make the town pay half the $836 million price.

However this “emergency” arose solely as a result of the MTA did not do its job within the first place. And now, the congestion-pricing panel sneaks in a doozy: The “emergency” requiring additional metropolis cash is everlasting. That’s proper — after 2020, and after congestion pricing, the MTA will nonetheless need that additional metropolis cash, $150 million yearly.

Metropolis lawmakers ought to take the idea of tolling drivers as a promising begin. However they need to insist that the state-run MTA do way more for the town, in selecting its tasks and offering current service, earlier than approving any new funds.