Pricing Congestion Right

The Story

Governor Cuomo has endorsed a proposal to toll drivers entering Manhattan, perhaps along the lines of the proposed “Move NY” effort. The revenue raised would provide additional funding for mass transit. The idea to toll drivers entering congested parts of the city in order to raise revenue and ease traffic has circulated for years but has never gained enough political support to move ahead. Mayor de Blasio should join the governor in backing Move NY, or some version of congestion pricing, to help bring a rational cost structure to New York City’s transportation infrastructure.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Free: The current system gives private cars free access across four East River bridge crossings, effectively inviting (and subsidizing) traffic congestion in Manhattan. Read more.

  2. Priced: Tolling cars coming into Manhattan’s central business district could raise more than $1.3 billion annually to pay for needed upgrades and maintenance for the city’s subways and other transit infrastructure. Read more.

  3. Toll Shopping: Irrational toll structures distort driving patterns and encourage motorists to seek out the cheapest routes, creating traffic snarls in local neighborhoods such as Chinatown and endangering residents and workers who must walk or cycle on congested streets. Read more.

“Our toll structure within the City of New York is so screwed up that many neighborhoods suffer immensely while lots of drivers pay too much at some bridges and others pay nothing.”

Sam Schwartz, former NYC Traffic Commissioner

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

Unjamming Traffic By Erin Schiller (Summer 1998)

“New York City’s drivers waste a staggering $7.9 billion—$580 per eligible driver—in gas, productivity, and time stuck in traffic around and in the city…”

And in other news...

“The most popular cheeseburgers in the neighborhood cost $2 and come from a cart on Lenox Avenue.”