Posted by 11 April 2018
Manhattan’s streets are busy – especially during weekdays, when commuters swell the island’s population. Governor Andrew Cuomo would like to make commuters who drive to the city pay for the privilege. Legislators, however, are cool to this idea.
Governor Cuomo supports what is called “congestion pricing,” which would impose a fee on drivers going into Manhattan during certain times. He appointed a task force that recently proposed charging drivers $11.52 to drive into parts of Manhattan during peak hours. The task force also called for per-ride fees ranging from $2 to $5 on for-hire services such as Uber and Lyft. The money would go to fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the city’s subway and bus systems.
Legislators did not include this proposal in their budget. They have been wary of embracing proposals that would charge some commuters more fees to enter Manhattan. They say it is not fair to place even more financial hardship on the residents of other boroughs who work on the island. They also point out that not everyone has easy access to transit, so some people must drive to their jobs.
Proponents of congestion pricing say that it will raise money to beef up transit services. They also note that charging people for entering the city during peak hours will discourage some people from driving, thus reducing congestion for those who do.
This idea has been discussed for many years in Albany, but it has never gained serious traction. Governor Cuomo has supported it throughout his term, but some transit advocates say that he has not been a very strong supporter. It remains to be seen what, if any, congestion pricing plan may emerge during budget negotiations.
Do you think that drivers should pay a fee for entering Manhattan during busy times? Or is charging commuters a fee to enter the city unfair to those who live outside of Manhattan?