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Could Manhattan Commutes Soon Trigger Congestion Taxes?

by Nena Perry-Brown

Could Manhattan Commutes Soon Trigger Congestion Taxes?: Figure 1

It has been a decade since former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg offered a failed proposal to charge a congestion tax for commuters driving into Manhattan in order to finance improvements to the city’s infrastructure, and now similar plans have been floated.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has been working behind the scenes on crafting a new plan for congestion pricing, The New York Times reports, hoping to avoid Bloomberg’s political missteps and make the idea a reality.

While the details of how congestion pricing would work have not yet been released, the funds would go toward salvaging the New York City’s subway system, which had long been held up as an example of efficiency compared to DC’s Metrorail until a recent series of mishaps highlighted the dire need for repairs and led the governor to call for a state of emergency for the subway in June.

As unsafe and inconvenient incidents on the subway system have become a near-daily reality, bringing the need for hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of emergency repairs to everyone’s attention, many are looking back at Bloomberg’s failed proposal and missing the funds that it would have raised.

“A key priority is making [a congestion tax] as palatable as possible to commuters from the suburbs and boroughs outside Manhattan without undercutting the primary goals: providing a dedicated funding stream for the transit system, while reducing traffic squeezing onto some of the country’s most gridlocked streets,” the article explains.

Although Cuomo hasn’t specifically adopted this plan, a proposal by an activist group recently gained some political traction, positing that drivers crossing the East River into Manhattan via any of the four bridges pay a $5.54 toll and that any drivers crossing 60th Street either north- or southbound also be charged a $5.54 toll.

Meanwhile, NYC mayor Bill de Blasio recently floated a plan to raise taxes on the city’s wealthiest residents in order to create a dedicated funding stream for the subway system. Cuomo doesn’t believe this plan will garner as much support in Albany, where it would face a Republican-controlled Senate before passage.

While New York considers how to address the lack of dedicated funding for their subway system, the outcome of these debates may be instructive in the DC area, where a huge repair endeavor recently concluded but a plan for dedicated funding has yet to be agreed upon.

See other articles related to: train, nyc, new york city, commuting

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/could_manhattan_commutes_soon_trigger_congestion_taxes/12909

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