Published: Sat, January 20, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Driving in Manhattan could cost $11.52

Driving in Manhattan could cost $11.52

The central business district for Manhattan is bounded by 60th Street on the north, Battery Park on the south, the Hudson River and the East River.

London and Singapore already have similar congestion surcharges in place.

"Governor Cuomo deserves credit for the Fix NYC panel's proposal, which is a strong, progressive plan to raise the money we need to fix our ailing subways". Both Cuomo and de Blasio agree congestion easing is necessary, but disagree that congestion pricing is the best solution. Cuomo's plan, instead, aims to move the focus onto Manhattan's most traffic-congested areas, which have been deemed among the worst in the country.

On Friday even some past critics of congestion pricing said the ideas hold promise for addressing gridlock while raising funds for the city's beleaguered subway system. "In this time of crisis, Gov. Cuomo needs to put passing congestion pricing and fixing the subways at the top of his agenda", he said.

"Unless something is done to reduce traffic, the NY economy can expect to lose more than $100 billion over the next five years, enough to fund the modernization and maintenance of the MTA mass transit system for the next two decades", the group's report said. Under the proposal, motorists would shell out $11.52 to drive into the busiest parts of Manhattan, trucks would pay $25.34 and Uber rides and for-hire vehicles could be charged between $2 and $5 per ride.

The idea called "congestion pricing" involves using electronic tolling to charge drivers for entering parts of the city during peak times.

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"But, as a born-and-raised Queens boy, I have outer borough blood in my veins, and it is my priority that we keep costs down for hard-working New Yorkers, and encourage use of mass transit".

Only four per cent of the residents of Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn or Staten Island, about 118,000 people, commute to Manhattan in vehicles, the task force says. "If you live in Manhattan, you can take subways, buses or taxis". That may potential riders from taking a cab, auto service, or rideshare when the subway will do - unless they consider a $5 surcharge reasonable.

The system would have a two-year phase-in, first affecting trucks, then cabs, then private vehicles. He said the proposal is a "step in the right direction" compared to earlier versions, though he continues to push for a millionaires' tax to raise revenue for transit.

On WNYC de Blasio was skeptical, saying he did not see a guarantee that all the money generated will go exclusively to fund subway and bus service in the city. "We have to figure out how to inhibit empty cars on our streets".

Phase 1 requires improved public transit alternatives - so that those who will choose to abandon their vehicles in response to congestion pricing have options for getting around.

Traffic congestion will cost the New York City region an estimated $100 billion over the next five years, according to a report from The Partnership for New York City.

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