- Robert Johnson/Business Insider
- A panel created by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed charging a fee to drivers who enter Manhattan’s busiest areas on work days.
- Those with cars would pay $11.52, while those with trucks would pay $25.34.
- The money raised from the fee would be used for projects to upgrade NYC’s aging and increasingly unreliable transit system.
Traveling around New York City can be a nightmare. The roads are congested, sidewalks are dirty, and the subway system is unreliable.
A new proposal offered by a panel created by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo hopes to address two of those problems by introducing a fee for drivers who enter Manhattan’s busiest areas on work days. Under the proposal, cars that drive through Manhattan’s central business district (which runs from the southern tip of the island to 60th Street) on work days between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. would pay a fee of $11.52, while trucks would pay $25.34. Taxis and ride-sharing services would pay between $2 and $5 per ride. Cars would be tracked electronically.
There would be some exceptions, as drivers using the East River bridges would not have to pay the fee, and those who used the Holland or Lincoln Tunnels wouldn’t have to pay an additional fee on top of their tolls.
According to the proposal, the fee would raise $810 million in revenue before including contributions from taxis and ride-sharing vehicles, reduce traffic by 13%, and increase vehicle speeds by 9%. The proposal notes that the fee wouldn’t be introduced until hundreds of millions of dollars were spent to improve the city’s buses and subways, which would become more crowded as a result of commuters who wanted to avoid the driving fee. The money raised from the fee would be used for further maintenance and improvements.
The city’s subway system has become increasingly unreliable due to decades of mismanagement. A New York Times investigation released in November 2017 revealed how funding for maintenance had been cut and diverted to other uses, like a state-run ski resort that was struggling to attract guests.
The report indicated that decreased maintenance, combined with aging subway cars, tracks, and signaling systems, resulted in just 65% of trains reaching their destination within five minutes of their scheduled time on weekdays, which was the lowest rate of any major metropolitan rapid transit system.
If enacted, the proposal could become the subject of controversy, since a subsequent New York Times report detailed how transportation construction projects in New York City were far more expensive than in comparable cities due to a negotiation process that allowed labor unions and contractors to charge excessive fees and overstaff projects. Some may argue that the city’s Metropolitan Transit Authority should reign in spending before asking residents for more money.