NEW YORK (AP) – Motorists would have to shell out $11.52 to drive into the busiest parts of Manhattan under a new proposal floated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ease traffic congestion and raise vital funds for mass transit.
Trucks would pay even more – $25.34 – while taxi cabs, Uber rides and for-hire vehicles would be charged between $2 and $5 per ride. The pricing zone would cover Manhattan south of 60th Street.
The idea, called “congestion pricing,” involves using electronic tolling to charge vehicles for entering certain parts of town during especially busy times. The proposal is expected to face stiff opposition in the Legislature, which must approve portions of the plan. Similar proposals have failed before after concerns were raised about the impact on commuters.
London and Singapore already have similar charges in place. Supporters of the idea say it could not only address gridlock, but also raise money for mass transit. Skeptics, including Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio, worry the tolls could be a burden, especially to middle class and low-income commuters.
The plan is part of a report by a task force that was brought together by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo after he declared a state of emergency in the subways last year. Details from a draft of the proposal were first reported Thursday night by The New York Times; the final report was expected to be released Friday.
“New York City traffic congestion now ranks second worst among cities in the United States and third worst among cities in the world,” a draft of the report says. If not abated, the congestion will cost the economy of the metropolitan area $100 billion over the next five years, the task force estimated.
According to the report, fees on taxis and for-hire vehicles could take effect within a year, followed by trucks and then cars in 2020. The task force said that none of the fees should be charged until mass transit repairs are made.
Information from: The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com