NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 27, 2007

New Yorkers are accustomed to paying when they hop in a car -- if it's bright yellow and has a meter on the dashboard.  Now the mayor wants to charge people who drive their own cars in Manhattan, says USA Today.

Under Mayor Bloomberg's plan:

  • An $8 "congestion fee" would apply to the nearly 1 million cars that enter Manhattan every day, whether driven by a tourist or a Bronx plumber headed to a job on Fifth Avenue; trucks would pay $21, and drivers who live in the affected area would pay $4.
  • The charge -- which Bloomberg wants to start in 2009 -- would be levied by E-ZPass, a toll collection system using electronic sensors on vehicles, or by a bill sent after a camera at a traffic light captures a license number.
  • The revenue, which could be $400 million yearly, would pay for transportation improvements, including transit.

Bloomberg says the fee could cut traffic by 6 percent, as one of a raft of proposals to keep the city growing.  But opponents of the proposal say it's not fair to charge residents to drive in their own city on roads they already pay for with taxes.  Similar opposition has kept most bridges that connect Manhattan with other boroughs toll-free.

"We know (traffic) is bad.  We just don't think that charging people an exorbitant amount of money to drive into Manhattan is the way to solve the problem," says Robert Sinclair Jr. of AAA of New York.

Source: Martha T. Moore "$8 NYC 'congestion fee' plan riles some," USA Today, April 27, 2007.

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