NEW YORK (WABC) –
Drivers will have to pay to reach the busiest parts of Manhattan under a new proposal commissioned by Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo to relieve traffic congestion and raise vital funds for transit massive.
The idea, called "congestion pricing," involves the use of electronic fares to charge drivers for entering parts of the city during peak hours.
If the proposal is approved by the legislators, the toll will take effect from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. the working days below 60th Street for a total of $ 11.52 per day. Trucks would pay even more – $ 25.34 – while taxis, Uber and rental vehicles would charge between $ 2 and $ 5 per trip.
London and Singapore already have similar congestion charges, and supporters of the idea say they will tackle the traffic jam and raise money for mass transit. But the proposal is expected to face strong opposition in the Legislature, which must approve portions of the plan.
Mayor Bill de Blasio says he would like a guarantee that the funds raised under the proposal would be used for public transportation in New York City. He said the plan "certainly shows improvements over the previous plans we've seen over the years," but believes his proposed millionaire tax remains the "most reliable and most verifiable way to obtain that permanent funding for the MTA." "
Similar plans have failed before, after concerns arose about the impact on passengers. Ten years ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a similar plan, but it never gained strength. So, what has changed in the last decade? There have never been more people living in the city, and the traffic is only getting worse.
Cuomo appointed a 16-member panel called Fix NYC in October to present plans to implement congestion pricing. He did not fully endorse the details of the proposal, but said it is clear that something must be done to tackle the traffic and raise money for a subway system plagued by breakdowns and delays. He noted that, as a native of Queens, he is sensitive to the concerns of those who travel daily.
"I have neighborhood blood in my veins, and it's my priority to keep costs down for hard-working New Yorkers and encourage the use of public transportation," he said.
Only 4 percent of those living in Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn or Staten Island travel to Manhattan in a vehicle, according to figures released by the task force. Of those travelers, less than 5,000 are considered poor.
Fernando Ferrer, former president of the Bronx County and board member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority who served in a working group, believes that congestion pricing is imperative.
"There's no good thing it's time to do something that is bold and makes sense, but look at the traffic here," he said as he spoke on 3rd Avenue earlier this week. "There is no right granted by God to prevent people from going from one place to another, traveling in a taxi, delivering at will, stopping, blocking traffic, double parking and tripling the park." That's it " AAA Northeast released a statement Friday opposing the plan, which, he said, offers no benefits to drivers while modestly reducing congestion. Here is the full text of the statement:
The report of the Fix NYC advisory panel does not offer any benefit to drivers when using them as the sole source of income for the rescue of the MTA. The report purportedly aims to reduce congestion, but its first measure of performance is the amount of money generated. The report forecasts a negligible increase in vehicle speeds from 6.8 mph to 7.4 mph as a measure of reduced congestion.
"One trillion dollars in tolls for less than one mile per hour improvement seems like bad business," said Robert Sinclair, Jr., media relations manager for AAA Northeast.
The plan does not offer toll reductions for drivers on the county's exterior bridges that have limited transit alternatives. In addition, the plan does not allocate new revenues for improvements to roads, bridges or tunnels. The plan also does not offer any mitigation for the increased congestion that would occur in areas outside the Central Business District of Manhattan as drivers try to find ways to avoid the fare.
The panel's recommendations, if implemented, would establish a new revenue to rescue the MTA without fully addressing the underlying causes of the Authority's fiscal problems.
In summary, the report is a starting point for discussion and AAA is encouraged that the Governor has suggested reducing tolls for county drivers.
You can download the complete proposal of Fix NYC by clicking here.
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