• Apr 8, 2008
Manhattan's latest attempt at disguised taxation has ground to a halt in the most trivial fashion. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed congestion charge for cars and trucks headed into the city below 60th street was summarily ignored by lawmakers. Rather than a contentious fight in the state assembly, the clock was simply run out and the bill died without being put to a vote. The failure of Bloomberg's plan means that New York City will also miss out on 350 million federally earmarked dollars for mass transit, and other ways to improve air quality and decrease gridlock must be sought. Even if it had passed, Manhattan's fee of $8 for cars and $21 for trucks would have been lower than what Red Ken charges for entry to London proper. While the goal of decreasing gridlock and improving air quality is admirable, we can see how the congestion charge would further squeeze those who can least afford it. To be sure, an alternative to Manhattan's current traffic would be welcome, and embracing change isn't always easy, but lets see what they come up with next. Thanks for the tip, RxMadness!

[Source: AFP, Photo by Mario Tama/Getty]


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  • 28 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Overnight street parking can be free; many spots in the city allow you to park from between 6 and 7pm through 8 the next morning without a fee. Many people who live south of 60th work outside the city (Jersey, southern Connecticut anyone?) and would get crushed by this fee - think about adding $1500-$2000 to your yearly commuting budget, this could be as much as you spend a year on gas alone.

      To generalize that people who live in Manhattan and own cars are all rich is just ignorant.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I live in Florida but come to NYC oftern and stay at a friend's apt. in the Upper West Side. He used to have a car until some drunk driver crashed into it and totalled while parked in the Street (either Amsterdam or Columbus).

      He decided not to replace the car with the insurance proceeds since he figured that the cost of the tolls that he pays to commute to NJ and back would be the same as the monthly lease on a new car. That is besides the insurance and gas costs. It is cheaper to buy the unlimited 30-day MetroCard pass. OF course he loses the convenience and lower commute time, but the math just made sense to ditch the car and use public transportation.

      My experience with the Subway has been good, except on weekends when there seems to be always in maintenance mode that affects one of my lines. Certain peeves:
      1)Why not install a monitor in each station showing how much time before each incoming train has to arrive
      2)Announcers who don't seem to have a diction problem and should be able to announce inside the subways all the announcements slowly and clearly.

      But the subway always seems to be full which means the MTA is raking dough like a drug-dealer, especially at $2 a fare. Better management and less restrictive union work rules, would probably allow the MTA to operate more efficiently without increasing fare prices or having to bring a congestion tax, whose dollars would more likely be siphoned to plug a deficit of the city's budget. I know it because it happended in Miami-Dade County: Votes approved a 0.5% added taxation of the Sales Tax (from 6.5% to 7%) in order to fund more public transportation and better roads. Eventually the money was used for purposes....
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Least afford it"? This is Manhattan. If you drive there, you can afford it, just like London.

      We're not talking Podunk, here. New York in an expensive city to live in. If you live there and can afford a house, a car and need to drive in Manhattan for reasons other than being employed by UPS or Fedex, you can afford a few bucks a day, especially when parking can easily cost ten times that.
      • 6 Years Ago
      For the one who said they should deliver the goods at night you know some businesses are open at certain times of the day. I think you really think it is the city that never sleeps. If they want to be a little more practical it should be 9am to 8pm then deliveries make sense but then again I work for a computer delivery company that delivers and installs computers for NY DOE and the contacts are not in schools until 8am and there are schools in manhattan. What happens to those schools then if they can't get other required goods like food, books ect. You know you can't deliver goods without a signoff or the goods won't make an official transaction. Most stuff isn't delivered to your house like ups or fedex when they leave it on the doorstep. I got a solution to lessen congestion and it goes like every damn building with 7 more stories or up has to have a loading dock and parking. Its not the delivery guys fault he has to double park for 2 hrs. Another thing is for the guy who said people are in manhattan have a choice to go around manhattan sorry some commercial traffic can just go through manhattan and in all seriousness all goods that have to go though manhattan that means LI and the other boroughs will go up in price. Why would anyone want to screw anyone with high prices or unneeded price increases anyway it will just come back and bite you in the arse one way or another. What we need is ethanol produced from sewer waste and charge 2 bucks a gallon which it cost 1 buck to make and use that to fund whatever because most likely the government will do what they do best and spend money on useless crap or pocket the money.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This plan would be much better if the amount charged was lower. It's understandable to charge people going to into the city during heavy traffic hours, but $8 is just too much. If they would cut it to $3 or $4 the plan would be accepted by many more people. Unfortunately, truck deliveries would never be shifted to late hours either, mainly because most stores aren't open that late. Only the large retailers who have night staffs to stock and clean would be able to accept deliveries. This plan doesn't really affect me because I refuse to drive into the city before 8PM, and when I do drive it's usually go clubbing or something so that's around 10PM when streets aren't as crowded (although it's still sometimes a pain). They should ban parking on some side streets though, there's no way to get through sometimes.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Poor people do not drive into Manhattan (especially south of 60th) and they surely do not park there. Good use of your noggin coming up with that line. I mean, it costs what, $8 to get onto Manhattan and unless you find street parking, which ain't free either, at least $40 to park in a garage. Poor people should and would welcome this congestion pricing, as it would provide greater transit option to them.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Neither is rail or ferry travel. If you live reasonably far from NYC yet still work there, travel by car is a good option. In addition, the farther from NYC you live, the harder it is to find mass transit there and the more painfully long the trip becomes. Trust me, this tax screws people who don't live in NYC and offers only marginal benefits for those that do.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Please remember that NYC is not just about Manhattan...There are a lot more people in the boroughs and the suburbs.

      This plan relies on the MTA to pick up the additional riders. It would take then years to implement, cost 3 times as much as they projected and then add frequent fare increases...while nothing gets done because millions of dollars would just disappear. That's the fetal flaw in the plan.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well and just what is the MTA going to do to help with public transportation for the people coming in from Jersey? Talk about taxation without representation!
      • 6 Years Ago
      No, I think congestion charge was the best option. Then they could use the revenue to improve mass transit. Money talks.
        • 6 Years Ago
        They could tax the working people and visitors that come into Manhattan with excessive tolls. That money might be used for mass transit. It's doubtful, but some of that money could possibly be used for mass transit.

        The other option would be the million dollar plus salary surcharge. It was in a bill proposed by the senate. If you earn more then a million dollars you would pay a surcharge on your salary that would be used to help pay for mass transit.

        Bloomberg put a stop to that though. Apparently raping the working class to benefit the rich is ok, but asking the rich to help everyone else out is taboo.

        Bloomberg is an awful out of touch zero. I'm glad his stadium failed(bc a 60,000 person stadium wouldn't have created congestion) , I'm glad he couldn't stop free parking of Sunday, and I'm glad his congestion poor tax failed as well.

        Score one for the middle class.
        • 6 Years Ago
        geekmorgan is completely right, nobody who "can least afford it" decides to drive into manhattan where gasoline is $3.70 a gallon and parking costs $30 a day (and that's the early bird special).

        Get real, anybody who "can least afford it" would either take the bus and subway for 2 dollars, or if they lived further out in Long Island or Connecticut or Westchester or New Jersey they'd drive to the LIRR or Metro North or NJ Transit station then park there and take the train (or bus sometimes from Jersey).

        The only time you'd drive is if you figured you could pay the insane parking fees, or if it was off-peak hours anyway.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well, we sure as hell know this isn't a news site.

      I've seen more palatable coverage on littlegreenfootballs.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Further squeeze those who cant afford it"

      You kidding me? Who lives in Manhattan and owns a car and would fit in that category?

      Tourists walk. Manhattan's "poor" (read: make between 100k-200k family income) take the subway - certainly dont own cars! Everyone else can deal with it. Remember, this is the town that costs over half a million just to buy your right to a parking space.

      I just dont see the real harm here. It seems to be a wash: it reduces congestion by nailing a cars with a flat fee. This includes cabs, who in part charge based upon how long you sit there in traffic. Reduced traffic = sit there less = pay less on the meter = make up for built-in fee.

      I'm an auto enthusiast as much as anyone else on this board. But people who live in Manhattan are by definition not auto enthusiasts (who actually drive cars) unless they are extremely rich. Let the city have its $8 fee and hopefully we could be able to get across town in under an hour...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Your comment makes no sense.....yes people that live in Manhattan can deal with it because they do make mucho $$$$$$ but eveyone else that lives on Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx & Staten Island dont make that kind of income...People that live on the other boroughs can't afford it and the people that live in Manhattan that can take the train to their job due to being so close....Plus lets face it one of the biggest problem thats at fault here is the lack of city planning for traffic...any body on the boroughs and long island that want to go to Jersey or vice versa have to go through manhattan to get to the tunnels...Im pretty sure you would reduce congestion if there was a direct path to and from jersey to the rest of the boroughs...and to top it off, the congestion fee won't reduce congestion that much its just a way to squeeze every penny out of the people that work here "disguised taxation"...

        look at the numbers most all of the tax income the state receives comes from the 5 boroughs and long island yet almost all of the money is spent upstate and the city gets the lower end of the stick...The money is there but its spent mostly in the suburbs of NY then the city which is generating the cash flow.

        Better public transit give me a break the MTA had a surplus yet they should different books were it appeared like if they were loosing money...

        The state new better and realized this was not going to help the people in NYC, only make people in certain gov positions get their pockets richer...
        • 6 Years Ago
        All my family is on the island. I understand the impact on the people in the boroughs. The higher cost for them to get to work must necessarily work out over time in higher compensation at the lower end. Their higher compensation will have to be paid for through higher prices at restaurants, services, etc ultimately by those who live there.

        As for the people living in the boroughs who make good money in the city and don't work in the service sector, they can eat this cost. They benefit from lower housing costs by not living in Manhattan at the expense of those who actually have to live there. Tough for them.
        • 6 Years Ago
        tj, do you live in this area? You sound like you never been here before. NYC is an expensive place to live because real estate is expensive. This plan affects those who live in the boroughs and the burbs. This is a tax on those who can't afford it.

        You want people to hang their jobs on the MTA getting its act together? You must not live here.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I get so sick of the "It's for the environment" excuse.
      Bottom line: global warming is often a excuse to get people's money.
      The environment is important, but the "green" folks are mainly interested in being "Hip", not the enviroment.
        • 6 Years Ago
        BTW, read a scientific book that humans are responsible for 3-5% of the co2 emissions.
        our whole solar system is heating up: I guess all the spacecraft we landed on various planets are responsible!
      • 6 Years Ago
      If they want to relieve congestion, start taxing any building taller than 5 floors. It's stupid to allow the construction of skyscrapers and then try and tax everyone who shows up to live and work in them.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Dude: my response was intended for SamuraiJack.
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