During a speech he's scheduled to give tomorrow that will outline his remaining time in office, New York's mayor, Mike Bloomberg, will announce plans to charge cars entering Manhattan below 86th street an $8 congestion fee, similar to the controversial charge enacted by London's mayor, Ken Livingstone.
The charge will include existing bridge and tunnel tolls drivers pay coming in, and the plan will reportedly include exemptions for taxis and drivers who use routes that keep them away from the business district in midtown. Discounts could be offered to individuals who live or work in the affected area which, if you're familiar with Manhattan geography, is pretty huge. Commuters coming in from the north are going to be in a much better position to avoid the charge by finding parking and switching to public transportation for treks further downtown than individuals coming in via crossings in the area below 86th.

Drivers are understandably frustrated at the prospect of paying more to get into the city, and opposition groups in the outer boroughs are beginning to form up. The plan, which will need to be approved by the state legislature, is sure to spawn some political fireworks. We'll follow up on this after the mayor's speech tomorrow, when we should have all the particulars of his proposal.

UPDATE 4/22: Ahead of today's speech, WNYC (New York Public Radio) reported that drivers who use the FDR drive and West Side Highway would be exempted from the fee. The mayor stated as much in his weekly radio program on WABC. More on the proposal as we get the info.

[Source: WCBS TV, New York]

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