Image from: Streetsblog NYC
After 10 plus years in the making, New York State has passed the Congestion Price surcharge initiative which will likely start December 2020. Mayor Bloomberg had originally proposed a tax on vehicles driving in and out NYC back in 2007!
In 2007, New York passed the PlaNYC 2030, http://www.nyc.gov/html/planyc/downloads/pdf/publications/full_report_2007.pdf which has big goals to improve clean air and sustainability in New York. There were specific targets for NYC to increase parks, decrease brownfields, improve housing, maintain waterways and water supply, clean air quality and energy, manage solid waste and decrease climate change.
The goal of the NYC Congestions Pricing surcharge is to decrease traffic problems while improving public transportation. If the Congestion Price surcharge succeeds in its intention, it will mean $1 billion in tax revenues that will go directly to mass transit improvements. Weekday traffic is expected to move 9% faster and general city congestion is estimated to be 14% less. Air quality is expected to improve due to the reduction in emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter from vehicles in the city center.
What exactly does the Congestion Surcharge mean for you? Drivers will be charged an extra $12 or so for driving in New York City’s highest trafficked zones. Trucks will pay an extra $25. The surcharge zone will be south of 60th Street and North of Battery Park. There is a one charge per day rule and charges will only occur between the hours of 6 AM and 8 PM.
To note, there will be a number of exceptions to the surcharge still to be finalized. Currently it is predicted that those earning $60,000 or less will be exempted from the surcharge. It is planned that only one fee can be charged per vehicle each day. Drivers using the FDR and the West Side Highway will be exempted from the surcharge. Other exemptions are being considered for people with disabilities, emergency vehicles and residents of the said zone.
The strongest argument for a Congestion Pricing surcharge is not whether it will decrease traffic congestion, but that there will be monies allocated to improve public transportation. NYC will be the first city in the U.S.A. to implement a traffic surcharge. In London, Singapore and Stockholm, congestion and emissions have been greatly improved.
Here’s to NYC being at the forefront of reducing city congestion and pollutants. Here’s to improved public transportation systems in NYC. And lastly, here is to NYC at being at the forefront of sustainable solutions for the U.S.A.