Congestion Pricing Crawling Back to Life

Kill all cars. (No Impact Man)

It was three years ago that congestion pricing died its unceremonious death in Albany, leaving New Yorkers stuck in traffic. But last month, there was hope the program might find new support in Albany, especially after tolls went up on the Port Authority crossings. Governor Cuomo seemed willing to back congestion pricing for the first time. Specifics of the new plan continue to emerge, and the environmental and labor groups supporting congestion pricing continue to meet with pols to gin up support, according to the Daily News.

The tolls would vary based on the time of day. Peak hours—between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.—would be in the same range as the Port Authority’s bridge and tunnel tolls, and the cost would be lower overnight and on weekends.

Yellow cabs would not be subject to the tolls, but they would be slapped with a $1-per-trip increase to generate $180 million a year, with $20 million going toward the hacks’ health care. Livery cabs would get a 50% discount, and  commercial vehicles would not pay more than once a day. The plan would also chop tolls by 15% for the Whitestone, Throgs Neck, Cross Bay and Verrazano bridges, and defer by a year a 2013 MTA fare and toll hike.

The theory holds those bridge rollbacks could be a huge boost to any plan, a give-back to the outer boroughs winning their support.

Meanwhile, one anonymous politician tells the tab the plan will never pass because “people just don’t trust the M.T.A.” It’s an unfortunate statement, which suggests that for all his effort, Jay Walder still has not managed to turn the agency around enough—even as he unveils yet another high-tech convenience, in-station info screens, this just days after the retro-cool Weekender came out.

mchaban [at] observer.com | @MC_NYC

Congestion Pricing Crawling Back to Life