Boost for Congestion Pricing in Manhattan as de Blasio Supports Cuomo Plan

In a significant pivot, Mayor Bill de Blasio embraced Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s congestion-pricing proposal to fix the subway system.

Comments: 149

  1. This plan is solid, allowing for both short-term and long-term benefits. Nothing is perfect, and can be amended later as needed. But this is transformative, and I'm pressed that two elected officials whose positions I normally don't support have come together to push a great plan. NY Senate, pass this now.

  2. Folks - you know that congestion pricing will be no problem for the super-wealthy who have taken over much of Manhattan.... But it will basically kill off all the remaining middle/moderate income residents who have managed to stay so far. (Mayor Bloomberg's demographic cleansing goal - NYC for the rich, cool recent college graduates and tourists) And it will severely impact non-rich people who need to drive into Manhattan - for example, people who cannot afford housing in and live far out, people who do not live near reliable public transportation, people who work at night etc Let's tax billionaires, millionaires and people who have second homes in NYC (not primary residents of NYC) for revenue. And how about a tax on Amazon/ecommerce delivery? And on SUVs? As for the reasons for congestion - blame here is on overdevelopment, construction, Uber, ecommerce delivery and bicycle lanes (which severely constrict traffic flow)

  3. @LS "And it will severely impact non-rich people who need to drive into Manhattan - for example, people who cannot afford housing in and live far out, people who do not live near reliable public transportation, people who work at night etc" This statement is not supported by the data. "bicycle lanes (which severely constrict traffic flow)" Nor is this one.

  4. @LS What is supported by data is that the construction of new roads or expansion of existing roads only alleviates congestion temporarily, and ultimately leads to more traffic.

  5. @LS "Middle/moderate income" residents of Manhattan should not be tooling around the borough in their cars and parking them hither and thither in high priced lots. Instead, they should be taking mass transit, which is super plentiful in virtually all parts of the island.

  6. Who should pay for city transit? Obviously, the riders. What about the business and residences that are on the transit lines. They are the beneficiaries of this service. Why not tax these businesses and residents. I used to go to San Diego 2 - 3 times a year on business. For the last 2 years, I was charged $10 per night for car parking at the hotel I stayed in. This was so that their football team would stay there. Guess what happened - they left. I did not want to subsidize their problems. The same logic applies here - the people that benefit from this service should pay for it. I don't think people in Buffalo would like to subsidize the New York transit system? Just my 2 cents worth.

  7. Why are you worried about people who wouldn’t be affected by congestion pricing?

  8. @Mike M Do pedestrians pay for the sidewalks? Do cyclists pay for bike lanes and trails? Do bird watchers pay for trees in Central Park? Do riders in cars directly bear the costs of the roads they drive on that are not tolled? Public transportation is an integral and necessary part of modern infrastructure, no less essential than water pipes. Everyone benefits from it, whether they use it or not, from a better economy, less pollution, less wear and tear on traffic infrastructure, and more.

  9. @Mike M . As someone who doesn't drive I'd be happy for you to pay for roads and highways and lighten my tax burden. Oh, and you can pick up the cost of public education and the military too. Don't need 'em. No kids and a pacifist here. Come to think of it, I've never had a fire at my house, so please cancel my tax contribution to them as well. I like the way you think....

  10. Some benefits of congestion pricing for those unaware. -Reduction in the number of automobiles entering the Manhattan CBD. -Reduction in "toll shopping." -Reduction in pollution. -Revenue for mass transportation. -More political will to reallocate space to provide prioritization for buses, safety for bicyclists and more room for pedestrians. -Safer streets. -Reduced road expenditure (think wear and damage). -The redevelopment of automotive-oriented sites for other uses. -Improved access into and around the Manhattan CBD for more people in general The time is now.

  11. @Nick You do know that a lot of cities that have pedestrianized have seen those areas abandoned after dark and become crime ridden and therefore reverted back to car traffic. Poughkeepsie for example... But I am wasting my breath with the ‘tax the workingman’ set even as they continue to Uber to the latest hotspot in the congestion zone.

  12. @Patrick New York is not Poughkeepsie. The idea that Manhattan would be abandoned after dark if tolls are put in place is absurd on its face. And as a "working man" myself, I assure you I don't drive--I take the subway.

  13. @Patrick Cities that faced a reduction in economic activity after pedestrianization of a corridor are nothing like NYC. The urban forms, population density, total population, mobility patterns, demographics, and culture are very different. NYC already has many highly successful pedestrianized areas. So successful that they are packed to the brim and require expansion in most cases.

  14. The charges should be reported back to the payor annually in time for a graduated credit to be taken against New York State income taxes, the credit to phase out completely for people earning over $100K. (Or, as Roseanne Roseannadana might ask, what's all this about charging people for going downtown while they have a cold? Aren't they having it tough enough)?

  15. Great idea. Open to all kinds of kinks, but good notion nonetheless. Eg: is that for one car family, or single taxpayer ? What if the car is shared ? Etc etc

  16. Yes we need money to fix the subway. But there is no mention of accountability. How will we know that this money won’t be siphoned off to other projects the way it has been in the past? Who will be the trustworthy monitor of this money? The MTA cannot be trusted. Talk about it all you want but they must somehow demonstrate trustworthiness and accountability before they get any more money.

  17. @Mariska "Congestion pricing revenue and these two taxes will be placed in a 'lockbox' to provide a funding source necessary to ensure the capital needs of the MTA can be met, with priority given to the subway system, new signaling, new subway cars, track and car repair, accessibility, buses and bus system improvements and further investments in expanding transit availability to areas in the outer boroughs that have limited mass transit options." From the link in the article.

  18. @Mariska Indeed. The MTA’s problem isnt a lack of money. It’s terribly run. Throwing more money at it will just end up at the bottom of the sinkhole. Burn down the MTA and rebuild it. I don’t support a penny for them until they show they can operate with efficiency. While you are at it, do the DOE too.

  19. @Mariska Ha, and with all of our failing schools, wasn’t the billions in lottery proceeds supposed to fix that?

  20. I honestly don't know the intricacies of congestion pricing. (And is this not another form of taxing the middle and working classes?) I do know, though, that this country's wealthy elite and corporations don't pay their fair share of taxes thanks to their legislation power. Can we please, finally, fix tax and income inequality so that we can repair and upgrade our transit system, roads/bridges and schools?

  21. @Sara G. Even in medieval times tolling was seen as regressive and elitist as those who could afford it where able to move wherever they wanted throughout Europe while those who couldn't were forced to stay where they lived.

  22. That’s all well and good if you live in Manhattan. Due to a health condition last year I had no other option but to drive into NYC at least twice a week for months to see my doctors. When my son was in a stroller I tried to use mass transit but that was dangerous and nearly impossible. (It should also be noted that Latinos were the ones that assisted me down the dangerous staircases.). Get Uber and Lyft out of the city and stop building so many huge apartment buildings so native NewYorkers in all five boroughs can drive into the city. I understand there is a huge traffic problem but it has not been of native NewYorker’s making and this makes me angry.

  23. For all these stories there are many more people who are ill or have limited mobility, often much worse off economically (no auto), who rely on public transportation. What if I told you its policy like this that makes public transportation in NYC better for all?

  24. Congestion charging is all the rage now. Besides raising revenue, one goal for such surcharge is to move people from their automobiles onto public transportation. But that should not be done unless and until there is first an increase in City bus and subway and suburban commuter rail lines to absorb the extra ridership and to offer an incentive to taking public transit.

  25. @Alan Flacks It will take a year minimum for the system to be put into place. Bus service would improve dramatically with even more bus-only lanes throughout the Manhattan CBD. The new real-time bus command center should be ready at that point, as will tap-and-go payment (to speed loading). Transit signal priority should be in effect for the most important intersections. The 7 train CBTC should get most of the kinks out (the L train, by comparison, has a 90% on-time rate). New NYC ferry stops will be open. What you request is happening.

  26. @Alan Flacks The main priority of congestion pricing is to make a revenue, because if it gets people to stop driving and switch to mass transit, then no revenue can be made off of it and it will be seen a net money loser.

  27. It does not seem fair that we have added a taxi/Uber surcharge just recently, and now are talking about congestion pricing. I live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan. Often I take a taxi because it is far faster than the subway from where I live. I pay the extra fare because I can't deal with the time it takes to use the train as well as the hassle from shutdowns, delays etc. The issue with traffic is not just the Ubers. It is construction, street parking (which takes up sometimes a 1/3-1/2 of a street's space for very little revenue), delivery trucks, etc.

  28. @Frank Use an Uber Pool if you must. 75 cents surcharge. Also, think about those who cannot take for-hire vehicles on a regular basis and must rely on public transportation for all or most trips.

  29. @Frank: Delivery trucks?! And yet everyone wants their Amazon Prime delivery NOW. Along with all their other deliveries. Further, there is not a single commercial venture in Manhattan that can survive without delivery trucks. People somehow forget that this is an ISLAND and everything that gets here (meaning: to your supermarket, your farmers' market, your doctor's office, the drug store, the local florist, department stores, and regular office buildings) gets here BY TRUCK.

  30. Take the subway, if you are truly a NYer

  31. Yes to congestion pricing in Manhattan, but for the entire borough. While having it in effect below 60th Street will help cut back on Midtown traffic, it will greatly add to traffic and congestion in the neighborhoods north of there. Residents already have to fight for parking spaces there and horn-blasting is continuous when there is a delivery on a side street, and with this plan drivers who formerly brought their cars to Midtown will now choose to try to park in the streets above. Earlier versions of congestion pricing were proposed for Manhattan below 96th Street, but even this takes in an antiquated view of Manhattan, when 96th Street was the unofficial dividing line between haves and have-nots. I don't think anyone who lives in or has been impacted by the recent development of Harlem and the gentrification of Washington Heights and Inwood would agree this scenario still exists. Another recommendation: The addition of neighborhood parking zones, like those found in Washington and other cities, in most, if not all, Manhattan neighborhoods, would also greatly contribute towards reducing the influx of traffic into the borough. But all of the above would not be fair without free, reliable and safe mass transit in New York City and environs. Where would the money come from? How about that wall Mr. Trump wants to build or the $700 billion he claims is needed to rebuild the military.

  32. This plan will also drive a lot of traffic away from the Lincoln and Holland tunnels to the GWB. That may have some benefits in terms of bus traffic to the PABT but it may make the GWB, CBE, HHP and local streets uptown a nightmare. Time will tell.

  33. This is great news, and I hope that they don't come up with ways to give out exemptions. Everyone should pay, no matter where they come from.

  34. Dollars to doughnuts, all civil service employees with a strong union - read: NYPD, NYFD, Sanitation along with privileged of Federal law enforcement, Justice officials, City Hall higher-ups, and on and on will have exemptions I bet.

  35. @Eddie B: No, everyone should not pay - because ALL of us ARE paying for this - and the MTA and Cuomo ALWAYS find a way to siphon the money off.

  36. @Will Eigo, while there are no impediments to charging a federal car to use a bridge or tunnel (where the funds directly support the entity being used), a travel tax to get to and from federal facilities downtown would almost certainly be unconstitutional.

  37. After paying billions of dollars for fancy the World Trade Center and going double the budget, we are talking about more taxes? Why not put the existing taxes to better use, and fix the subway first? The fact that the current system uses technology from the 40's is related to the lack of taxation? We are no that naive...

  38. Importantly, any funds raised from congestion pricing should not, under any circumstances, be used to reduce the funds the State would otherwise contribute to the subway overhaul. This is in addition to, not instead of! Andrew Cuomo, we know only too well how you think, and don't even pretend you didn't plan to do so!

  39. I am fo congestion pricing, but also for using a significant portion of the revenue raised to provide significant improvement of public transit to the "public transit deserts" in Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx and, last but not least, Staten Island. New and expanded Select and Limited stop bus lines would be a good start, as are possible tram lines. Lastly, lower fares and more frequent Express Bus service can help lessen the pain for many who currently commute by car from the outer boroughs into Manhattan and don't have access to subway lines.

  40. @Pete in Downtown "Congestion pricing revenue and these two taxes will be placed in a 'lockbox' to provide a funding source necessary to ensure the capital needs of the MTA can be met, with priority given to the subway system, new signaling, new subway cars, track and car repair, accessibility, buses and bus system improvements and further investments in expanding transit availability to areas in the outer boroughs that have limited mass transit options." -From the 10-point plan

  41. @Nick I really hope so. However, my concern is that, once the lockbox is filled, it'll be used as the excuse to withdraw all other state funding for the subway overhaul. Already, precious little of the state income and sales taxes the 50% of New Yorkers who live in New York City pay to Albany comes back to us. The City and our infrastructure have been short-changed for too long already!

  42. @Pete in Downtown Don't forget about New Jersey! New Jersey residents are also going to be footing the bill and the two states have basically refused to work together to resolve the transportation crisis despite NY happily collecting income tax revenue from NJ residents working in NY!

  43. I have been a New Yorker for 40 years. For 38 of those years, I have lived in Manhattan, south of 14th Street. I own a car, which I park in a garage, in lower Manhattan. Will I now have to pay a tax every time I take my car out of the garage? If so, I will be very, very mad.

  44. @DL, if you can afford to pay $600+/month to garage your car, you can afford a few extra dollars to drive around.

  45. Congestion Pricing - just another nail in the coffin for the middle class in the City of New York. Pitting pedestrians who can't or won't own a car against car owners while the rich get richer. Every budget personal or governmental earmarks certain funds but when an unexpected expense or budget shortfall occurs we all know what happens to that so called 'Lock Box". Congestion Pricing - Let's just soak the middle class some more.

  46. @mlb4ever Improved public transportation and reduced congestion in the city core is highly beneficial to the middle class. The middle class is the very group of people on mass transportation that cuts into and across the area (inside buses snarled in traffic and using a subway system that needs substantial investment). The middle class is on foot, in danger of serious injury or death during a crash. The middle class is breathing the harmful emissions produced by these vehicles.

  47. Disagree to some extent. Cars go into Manhattan from outer boroughs, from NJ, Westchester and LI. It is a fee for the effect of everyone who disdains mass transit.

  48. They took 15 spots away on my block with that ridiculous seasonal hobby of citi bikes. The favorite of air bnb users and trust find babies. This city is determined to get rid of the middle class. They do not want or feel they need us

  49. Need to cordon off the entire island for pricing control. If not, then the sectors adjacent to the Midtown boundary will suffer. Except for the new parking lots that will flourish. And/or - put tolls on ALL bridges in/out Manhattan Island. Some tolls above 96th St could be cheaper than others in the core. And/or change the pricing for sectors above and below 96th St. Put a small fee on Manhattan above 96th and a higher premium below it. If there is too much a gap , then vagaries and unintended consequences will come about.

  50. Mr. Heastie, a well-running subway without runaway fare increases would do more for minority and immigrant communities than another program and its overhead and salaries.

  51. @Christopher Perhaps, if the MTA was better audited and there was a better crackdown on fare beaters, there wouldn't be a need for constant fare hikes in the first place.

  52. It's the Macy's day parade of ideas.

  53. Signapore has been doing this for years

  54. So if it for the busiest parts of the city, why is the UES exempted but the East Village / Alphabet City included? The rich get the benefits, the working class gets the shaft. There has to be an exemption for people who live in lower Manhattan or it will just be like the Berlin Wall.

  55. @Patrick Have you even been to those areas as of late (or in the last two decades)? And the vast majority of working class people in those neighborhoods definitely do not own automobiles.

  56. Congestion pricing INCENSES me and these people I see on the news saying that it is okay because it will pay to fix our mass transit system are idiots. We pay taxes, we pay fares, and the MTA and the government squander that money. That is what should pay for the subways and buses. By charging people to drive into Manhattan will they not raise fares on commuter rails or will they hit those people either way? When they started the lottery in this state they said it would go toward improving our schools. Does anyone really believe that is where that money has gone?

  57. The Mayor supports Cuomo and congestion pricing until his base gets angry. Then he'll break from Cuomo, write an editorial to the NYTs condemning Congestion Pricing and blame Ford, GMC, Chrysler, BMW, et alia for messing up NYC'S traffic and failing to come to the table with solurions.

  58. As my username suggests, I have some interest in issues like traffic and how to control it in NYC, and congestion pricing might be worth a serious look if not a try. However, I just wanted to say that regarding “Do-Nothing DeBlasio”, I care less than nothing as to what he thinks. The worst mayor of NYC other than Beelzebub Giuliani, he’s totally worthless. Let him stay in Iowa, he belongs there or his gym in Park Slope but NOT Gracie Mansion! What does he care about traffic? Or homelessness? Or Riker’s? Or anyone but himself? Quintessential NON-New Yorker!

  59. Congestion pricing for the lower half of Manhattan penalizes workers whose shifts start at around 3PM. Public transit home, whether the Queens or the middle of New Jersey, is bad at mid-night. I see yet again the NY Times has ignored the huge amount of money George Pataki cut from the MTA budget. No later governor has restored those monies. Giuliani also made big cuts to the NYC transit system. And the Times has again ignored that fact. Last this article omits any mention of the end of the commuter tax in the late 1990s.

  60. @Yaj The overwhelming vast majority of people working in the proposed cordon already take mass transportation, that including those arriving outside the typical workday.

  61. What happened to legalizing weed, and taxing it to the hilt? I live near Great Barrington, MA. They recently opened up a LEAGAL recreational pot shop in town. The line is ALWAYS at least 20-30 people waiting outside. Rain, cold, doesn't matter!!! The tax on recreational weed is 20%. 6% of that goes to the town of GB. I don't know how those lines translate into tax dollars for the 9 hours they are open, 7 days a week, but it has to be a nice chunk of change! Time to lose the "reefer madness" mentality already. People are doing it regardless of legality. Why shouldn't the state make some money from what is already happening and will continue to happen, rather than let the surrounding states where it is legal, and the "illegal" dealers reap ALL the monetary benefits? Time to wake up to the monetary benefits of legalization, rather than hiding our heads in the sand and following 80 year old outdated beliefs about the "evil weed"!

  62. @The Red Mumbler Taxes on weed are so high (pun intended) in CA that the customers still patronize underground sellers. Consumers want low prices for legal and illegal items.

  63. Watch out, Andrew Cuomo. If this thing falls apart, Mayor Bill has a track record of throwing partners under the bus.

  64. This plan is long overdue. You can travel from within a 10 min car ride to Yonkers (Wakefield) all the way to Coney Island for $2.75, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, and yet you need a hearing to raise the fare 25 cents. At the same time, the people complaining about the fare hike expect modern amenities, 24/7 access, and a living wage in NYC for the people doing the job? Do these people live on the real world? Meanwhile, the Long Island Railroad, run by the MTA, but not subsidized like NYC Transit, costs over $20 per day round trip to go into the city. NYC riders need to come to grips with the fact that if you want convenience, virtually unlimited access to anywhere in the city, and professionals who are paid enough to live in the 5 boroughs, you have to pay more period. Either a higher fare or congestion pricing like EVERY OTHER city with a comparable population and / or transit system. Politicians need to tell people the truth - that they’re being ridiculous

  65. Wow. Stop Lying and tell the truth. This is a money grab by Cuomo and Deblasio. Just like the E911 tax ended up in the Governors piggy bank. This will NOT reduce traffic. Uber and Lyft cars will continue cruising the streets all day long in addition to the yellow cabs. Black Cars will do the same . Cruising Manhattan all day means POLLUTING ALL DAY. Commuters come in and park their cars for 8 hrs and leave. They are not cruising all day.Construction sites,Delivery trucks and bike lanes cause traffic slow downs. Uber and Lyft drivers stop in the middle of the street or in bike lanes to wait for passengers stopping traffic. They never pull up to the curb.Only a few young people can bike from their condo 15 blocks from work. If you live in the boros,you can't be biking for an hour in the rain or snow. This tax lets the affluent buy more privilege while all the Millennials just continue using Uber and never use the subway. Cuomo has ignored the MTA for many years and now he interested because he can collect money. He found money for the "Mario Cuomo "bridge but MTA? "I have no control" Andrew says. Corporations should be footing the bill. This tax will never be enough to fund the MTA.

  66. The two faux-gressives Cuomo and de Blasio. De Blasio proposed his millionaires tax for two reasons: knowing that Cuomo would never accept it and for the pleasure of watching Andrew turn a lovely shade of purple. It happens to be the right idea, rather than congestion pricing which is just another middle class tax, imposed on people who can no longer afford to live in Manhattan yet must still work there. Now they must pay for that "privilege" too.

  67. The MTR runs Hong Kong's Mass Transit system - the most profitable system in the world. That's right, I said Profitable. MTR takes in 187% of what it lays out. How do they do it? They develop and manage real estate projects on top of land they already own throughout HK - Retail, Residential and Commercial. The revenue from the Real Estate subsidizes the transit system that brings people directly to the developments at MTR Stops. The people of Hong Kong actually get something in return for the revenue funding the system: Shopping, Apartments, Commercial Space. It's a far cry from these shameless money grabs in New York that do little more than fund Capital Projects that never end and balloon to 4+ times their original budget. Before we dive headlong into yet another pocket picking from a city and state that never met a Capital Project they didn't criminally overspend on, can we at least use our heads for once and think about what all of these outrageous tolls are doing to commerce in this city? There are other options beyond the ridiculous obsessions of Andrew Cuomo. MTR has figured one out. Why can't we?

  68. Nice idea and in fact a variation of this was used in Hudson Yards, where the extension of the 7 train will be paid for with the increased tax revenues generated by the real estate improvements. Problem is that the MTA doesn’t own land above the tracks.

  69. @O My Great idea, but the property tax revenues pay for $100 tax-free NYC pensions.

  70. Also... Remember that the idea has been floated to pay for a northward expansion of the Second Av Subway by diverting the increased real estate taxes expected to result from new development around the new stations. That was met with cries from the community that expanding the subway will cause gentrification. Like the anti Amazon crowd, those people are clearly not familiar with the term cutting-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face. Based on a vague notion that increased housing demand will impact them adversely they are against a tangible neighborhood improvement. Makes sense if you spend your day watching TV but not if you’re commuting to midtown to work.

  71. We need to stop allowing "fashionable congestion" - no more MET GALA, where it's wall-to-wall limousines and complete gridlock. No more FASHION WEEKS, ever, for the same reason. No more ANYTHING that caters to the denizens of zillion-dollar condos. And we need to get rid of street fairs, which absolutely cause congestion & distortion of traffic in NYC every weekend for over half the year. And we need to get rid of the cutesy "pedestrian seating areas" in the middle of Broadway. REOPEN BROADWAY to normal traffic flow, including buses. NYC has no idea how many older people stay home from Lincoln Center events because they can't get home via the Broadway bus these days. But Bloomberg wanted NYC to be for the young and the wealthy, and it seems he's finally going to get his wish - even though he unleashed rampant over-development with ZERO consideration of the infrastructure that would need to be in place to support it. So now we have this mess, for which we are about to be taxed AGAIN (via congestion pricing). We, the people, are going to pay through the nose for Bloomberg's shortsightedness.

  72. @L: "But Bloomberg wanted NYC to be for the young and the wealthy..." Amen! Remember this sample of Bloombergian logic from a 2009 radio appearance? “We want rich from around this country to move here. We love the rich people. They are the ones that buy at the stores so that people who work in the stores have jobs and the stores, uh, generate sales tax; the rich are the ones that go to the expensive restaurants, uh, where, um, it, uh, as a matter of fact I looked at a list the other day of restaurants that – where the staff is unionized, and they’re the expensive restaurants, they’re not the cheap restaurants, those people want their jobs and, you know, you’d think their unions would – ” at this point his partner on the radio show interrupted, saying, “Have people in the seats.” Bloomberg heartily agreed.

  73. @L Your suggestions are so backward and parochial, if you want a prairie with cows and no people move to the suburbs then, but don't touch what makes NYC unique.

  74. I do not trust a word out of Cuomo's mouth, nor any promises by the MTA. The concept of "lockbox" is a figment of their imaginations - a convenient way of trying to make this genuinely lousy idea seem reasonable. Neither Cuomo nor NYC will tax the oligarchs who are parking their $$$$$ here in tax-rebated high-end condos. Congestion pricing should be confined to Uber/Lyft/etc. - It needs to hit all those people who are just too posh to ride the subway/bus and can't imagine taking (gasp!) a yellow medallion taxi. Watch what happens if congestion pricing goes into effect; NYC and Cuomo (who doesn't give a fig about this city) will have finally figured out how to drive the middle class out. Congestion pricing TRULY is a major part of the demographic cleansing of Manhattan. Only the super-rich will be welcome here; Manhattan will be an overpriced playground for those to whom money is no object. I have lived in NYC my entire life, but now, as I enter my "golden years" - when I looked forward to the proximity of museums and low-cost cultural events - it turns out that NYC is being tailored only for the young & the rich. The mayor AND governor are firmly arrayed against ordinary working people. Cuomo only cares about trying to be president (not gonna happen, Andy!), and De Blasio only cares about going via SUV motorcade to his gym in Brooklyn every day. It doesn't seem like ordinary working people & retired people on a fixed income will be able to continue living here.

  75. Fares on the subway should cover the cost of the subway. A fare increase of 30% does not sound unreasonable. In addition, fares should be based on distance travelled. The subway system needs to be set-up to be self-sufficient and not rely on other sources of revenue and others who do not benefit from the system to survive. Congestion pricing shifts the burden to those who do not have access to public transportation. To be clear no one drives into midtown Manhattan because it is pleasurable. NJ residents are already paying income tax to New York when working in NY. This revenue has not been used to improve transportation between the two states. The Port Authority Bus Terminal is in shambles and buses do not run reliably; Penn Station is a mess and the tunnel connecting NY and NJ is falling apart. Congestion pricing is putting more of the burden on NJ residents who do not have access to the subways to commute into NYC. If some of the funds will be allocated to Port Authority, then this plan may make sense, but that does not appear to be the case! NY and NJ need to work together for a regional solution. For NY residents that do have access to the subways, fares should be priced to cover the true cost of the ride so that again those people who cannot use the subways do not fund it. It does not make sense that it costs the same to travel one stop as it does 20+. London, Paris, DC, and the list keeps going all charge by distance travelled. Get with the program NYC!

  76. The argument centered around that people who don't use the subway shouldn't have to pay for it, is a flawed one. There are countless instances of people who don't use something paying for it. An example being my taxes being used to fund schools even though I do not have children. It is a net benefit to society to have a better educated population, thus why it is OK for my taxes to go towards that. In the instance of the subway, access to reliable transportation is one of the largest drivers of economic growth and activity. While you yourself may not use the subway, if you work in NY, chances are your coworkers do. How would your business perform if your workers were continuously late? Productivity would drop significantly, which would cost your business money. So while you do not use the subway, you still benefit from its existence and thus should help pay for its maintaince.

  77. @AJ I would agree, but along the same argument then the subway fares should help fund replacing the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the train tunnel between NY and NJ. In case you hadn't noticed, commuters coming from the suburbs of NJ are continuously late already so part of the aggravation is that this issue is not just the Subway is falling apart, but that the whole system is. If it were just the Subway, I would agree with your point. Congestion pricing unfairly places the cost on those who already are victims of the failing system and makes it even more onerous. It would be wonderful if everyone could afford to live and work in NYC on the Subway/Path/Ferry, but that simply is not a reality!

  78. @Bergen County Resident People coming into NYC using the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels will NOT be subject to double tolling. If you live in Bergen County and need to access the city core, go AROUND the congested island of Manhattan and enter through the Lincoln Tunnel. And you want people in NYC to pay more, despite a much higher per capita rate of federal funding going to suburbs like Bergan County and using our roads?

  79. I understand the theory of congestion pricing, but I thought it is supposed to apply to the most congested areas during the busiest hours. So WHY has the drop fare for taxis gone up dramatically below 96th Street 24-7? There's no reason to discourage taxi riding at 2 a.m. at night or early Sunday morning, for instance, when there's absolutely no traffic. I also don't know how this new surcharge will produce more revenue because I've just stopped taking taxis altogether ever since this went into effect.

  80. @Ellen Freilich To provide funding for mass transit from companies not paying their fair share considering the city services they utilize. Also, there is indeed heavy traffic at night at certain locations and higher costs discourage usage. If you must use a for-hire vehicle, use a shared ride. It's a fraction of the cost of the average fare at .75 cents.

  81. Why is FDR Drive on the east side exempt from congestion pricing, while the Henry Hudson on the west side not exempt? Highly inequitable. And if I understand correctly, if a resident of 62nd Street enters midtown and drives slowly around Times Square and Broadway for a solid six hours then returns home, that person will be charged a single congestion pricing toll, however, if that same person drove straight to the Lincoln Tunnel and spent six hours in New Jersey instead and then returns home, he will be charged two tolls. Is that the intent, cheaper to drive in midtown Manhattan than to leave the city?

  82. @Brian If you think the FDR Drive is bad now, just wait until it gets gridlocked with those trying to avoid paying the fee, because then the traffic will be backed up from end to end and pretty much the entire day.

  83. @Brian Concerns about traffic on the BQE. Not many people are going to cross the BK Bridge to head north along the FDR around the cordon though. Also, NJ crossings will not be double tolled.

  84. Even with de Blasio finally on board for congestion pricing, this still doesn't mean that it will happen. There are still a number of politicians up in Albany that are still pretty skeptical on it with some of them being very liberal in their nature. No matter how much some try to restructure this idea, it will always been seen as nothing more than a regressive tax to those can't afford it while being seen as a punishment towards those who have to little to no viable alternatives to driving. Earlier today, I went over to NYU-Wagner to see a public debate on this very issue, and I was very proud to see and hear Richard Brodsky make his claim against it. He was right to say that the idea was arbitrary and regressive. Also, he claimed that there are better progressive ideas to help reduce congestion rather than just impose a fee, but those such as Nichole Gelinas, who was his opponent, didn't think about that. After the debate I did talk to him a bit on saying that the MTA should have a more thorough audit to look at their existing revenues before even thinking about this, plus he did agree with me that the nature of the supporters are out of touch with the nature of the opponents. More importantly, he did agree with me on those commuting from the suburbs in having to pay at least two fares along with costs for riding such trains and their sporadic schedules. Another claim he made is to go after Uber and Lyft, which cause the congestion rather than go after others.

  85. @Tal Barzilai The support for congestion pricing is overwhelming. The opponents are few and isolated. It's highly likely to become policy in March. And take note that the first phase was already implemented, the taxi-surcharge.

  86. @Nick The future isn't written in stone. Just because de Blasio is now in favor with this idea doesn't mean that it will happen. I don't know where you get your claim that more are supporting congestion pricing, but I feel it might be something Transportation Alternatives might have fudged up. As long as there are still some politicians that are skeptical on this idea, it can still be stopped. If it gets defeated again, it should just end there and never be brought up again. Don't amend this idea in any way or form, just end it already and get it over with. One other thing, polls made through surveys aren't always accurate considering that not everybody participated in them and they could have been known only by certain groups such as your's who voted on them.

  87. Congestion pricing is long overdue. I ride the bus every day and the commute is slog because of congestion. We need fewer cars on the road and more and better public transit. One won't work without the other.

  88. @PhillyExPat Congestion Pricing = reduced traffic is a myth which reality will expose - far too late for the victims of this onerous tax.

  89. @PhillyExPat Get rid of half the Uber/Lyft vehicles. That's where this should start. It's almost a guarantee that the MTA will raise fares anyway. What's the point of trying to get people into the subway if it isn't fixed first. This plan wlll make the subways more crowded.

  90. @minimum In every city where congestion pricing was implemented automotive volumes declined. If over time it did increase, the volume within the cordon increased at a much lower rate. There are ways to maintain or reduce volume by removing exemptions and/or raising the price. It works.

  91. Didn't these two last work together on private development of employment opportunities in LIC. They should maybe consult with AOC. And I don't even have a driver's license.

  92. Cordon Tolling with political meddling and carve outs will not reduce traffic. This starts a slippery slope where the intent of traffic reduction gets lost and cordon tolling becomes what in NY is just a tax. I guarantee that when all is said and done cordon tolling will be the placard abuse version of driving.

  93. Lest we forget. Someone himself had said that congestion pricing was regressive taxation.

  94. 2 big mistakes: 1) applying the toll to residents especially those south of 62 street - very punitive to charge residents $22 or more if they need to enter or leave the zone for things like grocery shopping in queens, taking someone to the airport, getting to a doctor, visiting family out of town etc. 2) not applying that punishment to ALL residents - including the affluent upper east side - highly inequitable. Someone should sue to either block the resident toll or apply it to all residents. Why would anyone want to live in ny?

  95. Again, if you can afford to drive in midtown Manhattan, to own a car in Manhattan, you can afford a toll!

  96. @JB This isn't about what one can afford. This is about another tax. This is a fee on those that don't use the subway for what ever the reason. I can't take the subway due to a disability. Do I get punished for that?

  97. I don't have kids yet my taxes pay for public schools. And I don't complain about it.

  98. Who are all these poor people (who would be affected by congestion pricing) that DRIVE into midtown Manhattan, between 9a and 5p daily, and where do they park? A lot of the commenters on here either didn’t read the plan or just don’t want to complain about nothing. If you can afford to pay $50 to park in midtown, you can afford a $5 toll each way.

  99. My feeling all along, when Mile Bloomberg first proposed tolls on bridges. ("But what will poorer people who drive into the city do?" a liberal friend demanded. I replied, "Take the subway, like me. And bring a good library book.")

  100. @B. I don't know about those poor people, but plenty of not-poor people would be hurt by this new tax - i.e. congestion pricing.

  101. @JB: Where do they park? Have you ever heard of metered parking spaces?? Have you ever heard of municipal garages?

  102. I seem to recall that the money from Lotto would supplement the money budgeted to schools. So what happened, our esteemed leaders simply decreased the amount budgeted to schools and offset it with lotto proceeds. Any bet this happens with the congestion revenue and the money budgeted to the MTA. Also, why would residents that live south of 62nd street have to pay the toll. Maybe a reduced rate similar to the rate charged to Staten Island residents for crossing the Verrazzano Bridge might be appropriate.

  103. Like most Albany plans, the overwhelming majority of the money will be generated in NYC, and siphoned off for the suburbs and for upstate.

  104. That's untrue. Read the proposed legislation in Cuomo's 2020 budget proposal. Fees will be "lockboxed" and can only be used for the specified transit purpose (and debt service on bonds secured by the fees). This will prevent Albany from raiding these funds.

  105. @KellyNYC: "Lockbox" is horsefeathers. Look at the history of "lockbox" funds in NYC and NY State (and especially the MTA!) and you will see that this is just another way for Albany to collect money from NYC. Cuomo is very, very adept at putting his hand in the pocket of NYC to get funds for whatever HE wants.

  106. No, that is also not true. A true "lockbox" structure is a contract with bondholders. Breaking into a lockbox would be an event of default. NYS funds currently designated for the MTA are just that - designated. They are not lockboxed. And Cuomo has raided those funds in the past.

  107. Most of the cars I see driving around are Uber, Lyft, Via or taxis. My parents drive in for appointments, because it's cheaper to park than it is to drive to the station, pay for parking ($5), take the train ($56 round trip x2), get in a bus ($10 both ways for 2) or taxi ($20 both ways) to get where they're going. Yet, at their ages, they should probably be taking public transportation or a car service.

  108. @llf: The VAST majority of what you see are Ubers, Lyfts, etc. There are over 100,000 of them on the streets, versus 13,000 medallion taxis. COMPARE THOSE NUMBERS and then tell me what the cause of congestion is! It's De Blasio's fault; he allowed Uber to come in here and steamroll their way into OWNING our streets. (And nobody's even discussing how much wear-and-tear on our roadways is caused by 100,000 additional for-hire cars!)

  109. @llf If they are too old for public transportation, they should not be driving either. And the fact that it is cheaper to drive into the Manhattan CBD is a huge problem this policy hopes to address. And private, unshared vehicles should be the primary target because they are less essential. Their inconveniences are no reason to continued to choke the area and deteriorate the quality of life for everyone else.

  110. @L For-hire vehicles now face a charge, there is also a cap. Additionally, congestion was a serious problem long before the introduction of the app-based services. It was a mistake to allow them to operate they did, but that doesn't change the fact that congestion pricing has been necessary for decades.

  111. Worth noting: When a congestion charge was introduced in London in 2003 - 16 years ago! - it resulted in a substantial reduction in the number of accidents and fewer fatalities. A 2015 study found that traffic accidents fell in the capital by 40%. There are also clear benefits in air quality and overall quality of life (with less noise) that stem from few cars and trucks on the streets. New Yorkers don't always do well in accepting change but I suspect this is an idea whose time has finally come.

  112. The downside is that people "needing" handicapped sign for their mirror is going to skyrocket.

  113. @Richard Sohanchyk The Blue hang is not for street parking. One must apply for the NYC DOT handicap placard that is placed on a car's dashboard. And, it isn't as easy as it may seem to get. Not only does your doctor have to truthfully sign a form explaining your disability, the NYC Dept. of Health Doctors hve to review, and may question, and examine you as well.

  114. There are just too many cars on the road. There has to be disincentive to drive in order to reduce the driving of cars in midtown. I ride a bike and as a 62 year old woman can beat any car going cross town or even uptown or down. If we care about buses, we need to reduce the number of cars. It’s just stupid not to do anything.

  115. Bikers never stop for lights or stop signs. That’s why you are faster. Don’t get hit by a truck as you run a red light

  116. Let's see the MTA's financial records, first! Asking people to take mass transit before fixing it will make things worse. Raise the fares and fix the subway. Add a surcharge to T&LC registrations and licenses. Cut the amount of new T&LC registrations. Stop funding the MTA with taxes on the backs of people that never set foot in them.

  117. Congestion pricing is trying to fix a symptom. It’s attacking the people suffering from the cause. Instead, the onus to pay for better transit solutions should be on the developers and billionaires bringing in all the people that create the traffic and the strain on our transit system.

  118. If crossing the East River and Harlem River bridges will still be free, then the only people who will be subject to this toll are people in Manhattan above 60th Street. Has there ever been a more blatant and egregious geographical targeting for a tax? Would we accept this treatment of any other community? I won't even get into the ridiculousness of ONLY charging people to drive within their own county where they actually live and exempting people coming in from outside. This proposal appears to be based on the assumption that anyone who owns or drives a car in Manhattan is wealthy, but that simply isn't true. And if we want the costs of transit improvements to be borne by the wealthy--which makes perfect sense--then the way to do that is with higher marginal tax rates that actually target wealthy people. Using the roundabout and unfair method of congestion pricing just so that Cuomo can claim (or, really, pretend) that he didn't raise taxes is a travesty, and the fact that he so desperately wants to avoid marginal tax rate increases on millionaires and billionaires should raise red flags for Democrats everywhere.

  119. I think the plan is that if you cross a free East River bridge and stay on the FDR (to Harlem, etc.), you don't pay. If you get off the FDR at 42nd St., etc., then you would pay the fee because you are entering the zone.

  120. @R The cordon encompasses all the Manhattan south of 61st St. Every non-government or exempted vehicle that enters that area will face a charge, from every direction. The FDR is an exception to the rule because of crowding on the BQE, but you will be charged if you exit the FDR anywhere south of 61st.

  121. Back when Bloomberg and Giuliani before him, was mayors, the subways ran like a Swiss watch. There was a train very five minutes, even off peak. It was actually a point of pride with Bloomberg that he would often tout in his public statements. Back when Koch then Dinkins were mayors, you had to wait twenty minutes at rush hour for a train which, when it came was too packed to get on. The day DeBlasio took office was the day the subways started going back to the Koch/Dinkins days and to our current manufactured crisis. See the pattern? My opinion has always been that the MTA is a branch of the state Republican Party, running like a Swiss watch for Republican mayors, in crisis mode for Democrat mayors. Just look at who is the current Chairman of the MTA: Joe Lhots, remember him? DeBlasio’s GOP opponent? I rest my case.

  122. @Patrick: Do you have the slightest idea how many more BUILDINGS (rental and condo) have been built since then? Do you have any idea how many more people are now living in Manhattan? Do you realize that Bloomberg CREATED congestion, starting with bike lanes and chopping up Broadway for "tourist seating areas" - while at the same time he gave free rein to his developer cronies to overbuild in Manhattan - and without ANY consideration of the infrastructure that would be needed to support all those additional residents? THAT is a big piece of the mess we're in today in Manhattan.

  123. @L I completely agree and have often said in these comments that there should be a moratorium on development in Manhattan. In fact, I have called the 2nd Avenue Subway “The Bloomberg Shuttle” built expressly for UESers, which when that section was completed, the money mysteriously ran out. But the fact is that MTA subway ridership has actually been in decline over the last few years shifting to Uber and other ride sharing services. The people who live in those new condos, it seems, are just not using the subway, further adding to congestion.

  124. Why make New Yorkers who drive pay for the MTA there are other revenue streams such as legalizing gambling that would bring billions to the city and state, And that would be a choice for New Yorkers to gamble or not.

  125. There are too many cars in midtown. Traffic barely moves. Fire trucks and ambulances can't get to emergencies. I'm 100% for this plan and I live in the zone.

  126. @Jose Driving is also a choice.

  127. @Jose. I both agree and disagree. I disagree on not having a congestion charge; we need to do something about the traffic snarlups that plaque mid-and downtown Manhattan (and downtown Brooklyn, by the way). London, Singapore and other cities have shown that implementing a congestion charge can help reduce congestion. Regarding the gambling part: on that I agree. While I am very aware of the dangers that casinos can pose to people with gambling addiction, having one or two high-end casinos in Manhattan makes a lot of sense to me. Such hotel-casinos could also provide thousands of service jobs, including many that pay quite well.

  128. the subways must be in bad shape indeed for the Mayor to cease pandering to those who insist on driving in midtown Manhattan even with the congestion, pollution, climate change issues that causes. But as usual, there is opposition not only from those who don't care about the subways and its riders, or the city's air quality, but above all also those who simply want someone else to pay for it.

  129. With the exception of the Lower East Side, I can assure you that anyone who lives below 60th Street and owns a car uses it only to take trips out of the city. Navigating traffic and finding or paying a fortune for a parking space versus using public transportation is truly a no-brainer.

  130. @Old Yeller Not so. There are a great many people who need a car to transport equipment and goods around. Commerce the city is more than happy to tax and toll out of existence.

  131. @O My Point taken. I was thinking only of residents who aren't using their vehicles for commercial purposes.

  132. Us taxpayers are already seeing congestion pricing from shared ride services. I took one yesterday and there was an added line item which specifically said, "NYC Congestion Tax". We couldn't have two worse people running this city and state. They care nothing about how their decisions affect us tax paying citizens. On top of that the MTA is raising their fares. Ridiculous.

  133. @Fed Up If you must take a for-hire vehicle, shared rides are a .75 cent surcharge. The point is to discourage unshared rides, and it makes sense to so.

  134. I am greatly disappointed that Mayor de Blasio, supposedly a progressive, has abandoned the middle class by supporting this congestion tax idea. Taxing billionaires to pay for mass transit improvement is a more just and progressive solution. Billionaires like Michael Bloomberg (personal wealth of 50.6 billion) who did more than anyone to cause the congestion nightmare in Midtown by allowing unrestricted numbers of Ubers to enter the city like an invasive species. AOC, take note!

  135. @dmj The middle class is overwhelmingly using public transportation to access the Manhattan CBD. The millionaires' tax isn't enough. Congestion in NYC has been a challenge for a very long time, streets were crowded before the introduction of the automobile with carriages. Congestion pricing has been proposed since the 1960s, but we have finally reached a point where traffic is barely faster than walking (if at all) and technology makes tolling possible without creating bottlenecks.

  136. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with congestion charging, it has worked to some extent in London. However, it’s success there was contingent on the fact that neighborhood streets bordering the congestion charge zone were all made resident parking only. A failure to implement the same in NYC will only push the traffic into riverside, Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens.

  137. @GBP Can we please stop pretending this is about Congestion? If the city seriously cared about Congestion it wouldn't allow every Tom, Dick and Harry to drive an Uber around the city. It would get rid of bike lanes and pedestrianized zones on major thoroughfare. Congestion is a ruse. These people want your money and mine. So they can "appropriate" it to their "friends" in neverending Capital Projects and Blank Check Union hires.

  138. @O My The city passed both a surcharge and cap on for-hire vehicles. Bicycle lanes are few and far on NYC streets. There are about 20 incomplete crosstown bicycle lanes, typically unprotected, on over 100 crosstown streets in the CBD. There are 6, mostly incomplete north/south protected bike lanes on avenues. Pedestrianized zones are heavily utilized by New Yorkers and the city needs many more. Same goes for sidewalk expansions. You didn't mention bus lanes, but the city needs many more of those as well. Pedestrian zones and bicycle lanes are not the cause of congestion. There was terrible traffic in NYC before these implementations. The culprit is too many automobiles.

  139. @GBP: I have read that within the London congestion pricing zone, buses are free. Will that happen here? Fat chance.

  140. But will these funds actually be used towards repairing the subway? It has been shown in the past that funds allocated for the M.T.A have been reallocated for other purposes, so how will this be any different?

  141. We have a system which was built long ago, and never really upgraded. It is run by an opaque organization that has squandered money for years and is totally unaccountable by normal democratic means. We are now told to pay more money to "fix it" and to "reduce congestion". The idea that people have much choice in travel is silly. Why does the A train not run to Paramus, NJ ? PATH is a history lesson with electric upgrades...and the LIRR is also quite funny, not in a good way. We don't have a London, or Singapore, or any other congestion price city's mass transit system-not even close. This is a toll, plain and simple. You don't drive to NYC for choice. All those small stores have a warehouse...somewhere outside NYC. Many food stores cook in NJ or Queens, and sell in the Zone. The Bicycle Nonsense has taken a toll as well. All those lanes removed-and parking removed....of course things are more congested-the bike lane and road diet regime have gone too far. Yes, you will now have to pay admission to NYC...the commuter tax is reborn. Does anyone even care the government is now officially tracking us ?

  142. @Casey Never really upgraded? The system has seen substantial upgrades over its lifespan, but the problem is that it needs even more modernization and expansion. It's funny you say this if you are really a resident of NYC. For example, almost every elevated subway station in the Bronx has been upgraded in the last 15 years. This includes upgrades to the signals on the Pelham Line and numerous track replacements. That's just one borough. The buses are constantly upgraded as well citywide. The Staten Island express bus system was redesigned from the ground up, the Bronx local routes will by 2020. CBTC on the 7 train is now in) effect (and it takes time to configure the system, following the L train (90% on-time rate) and next likely the Broadway line. The 7 line extension? The SAS's first phase? SBS is well received and saves users time. More needed, yes, but a lot is happening. Why should the A train pull into Paramus, NJ? There are far more areas in NYC with a greater population density that should get priority when it comes to rapid transit. Drivers using the Lincoln and Holland tunnel will not face double tolling. Bicycle lanes take up a small fraction of street space in NYC, same with Citi Bike docks. Road diets have improved safety. And believe it or not, the government has tracked automobiles in NYC for a VERY long time using license plate readers and EZPass scanners.

  143. @Nick: On the contrary, bike lanes and their "buffer" lanes take up an ENORMOUS amount of street space! Then add in all the space taken up by Citibike docking stations. And add to that the TRUCKS needed to reposition the bikes - ah, but bike riders are against trucks! Trucks cause congestion, trucks are bad, say the bike advocates. Bike advocates don't like to admit the reality: that the Citibike system NEEDS trucks in order to function!

  144. @L Parking-protected bike lanes are like 6 ft wide and their buffers are about 5 ft (if they even have one) on Manhattan north/south avenues (60 ft width) where you find them. A crosstown protected bicycle lane is 5 ft wide and has a 2 ft buffer (crosstown streets in Midtown are around 35 ft wide). An on-street unprotected painted bike lane takes up even less space. Citi Bike buffers around docks are about the same width as a NYC parking spot, about 8 ft wide. Not enormous. The cause of congestion is excess numbers of automobiles, as it always has been. And I'm sure most bicyclists are against vehicles that are too large for city streets, and an excess number of them. I would argue that most people would complain about that issue. Using smaller trucks and vans to rotate bikes makes sense, and Citi Bike also uses bicycles to pull trailers to assist.

  145. How about a parking tax?

  146. @abikecommuter Parking has gone up in price citywide but is still far lower than it should be. Raising the price of parking more dramatically is even more difficult than congestion pricing politically.

  147. This is what politicians and oligarchs always wanted: a gated community for the ultra rich. This toll is unconstitutional, it will affect working/middle-class New Yorkers trying to escape the decrepit and mismanaged MTA. to get to work and school on time. Just wait for that class action lawsuit.

  148. @Marie Condo Where in the U.S. Constitution does it state that congestion pricing is prohibited? And working/middle-class New Yorkers overwhelmingly use mass transportation to access the city core.

  149. I see a lot of locals complaining about this being implemented but here's the real problem. How many single passenger cars do you see coming in to the city in the morning and then leaving at night? Thousands! Don't believe me? Walk around midtown after 9:00 PM. It's wonderful. The suburbanites and their cars have left.