New Yorkers are currently feeling deep economic pain, with unbearable taxes, inflation hitting new highs, food and gas prices skyrocketing, and they now are forced to pick between putting food on their table or paying their energy bill. Yet, at a time when they need financial help the most, Kathy Hochul wants to turn the screws on struggling New Yorkers upward of another $34.50 a day.
That’s right. Last week, the MTA released its plan to begin congestion pricing, charging up to $34.50 per day for drivers traveling south of 60th Street in Manhattan. As if it wasn’t bad enough that this Hochul Hike would raise another $1 billion a year on the backs of hardworking New Yorkers, with no changes that would force the MTA to spend this taxpayer money more efficiently or effectively, the kicker is, historically, congestion pricing has failed spectacularly at its stated goals.
Look at London
Even after implementing congestion pricing in London, drivers still ended up spending even more of their lives in traffic, while also paying far more annually in the congestion-pricing fees that are supposed to cut down on traffic. The backup became so heavy in the areas flowing just outside of London’s congestion zones that measures had to be taken to reduce the amount of cars there as well.
London’s plan for congestion pricing blew up in their face when their alternative modes of transportation were not as efficient as driving. Due to their exemption from congestion tolling, use of private-hire drivers, such as Ubers, soared. Despite adding more than 300 buses to their fleet, London commuters continued to use cars because bus reliability dropped dramatically.
London’s issues are only foreshadowing for New York’s, especially considering the state of our public transportation system. Those in favor of congestion pricing point to the subway or other methods of transportation as alternatives, but how can Hochul look New Yorkers straight in the face when her pro-criminal policies like cashless bail, Less is More, defunding the police and much more are eroding public safety?
To reduce congestion, we need to take steps to make sure the MTA is spending money efficiently and alternative modes of transportation, like our subways, are safe. Instead, many commuters who live in New Jersey or Connecticut may elect to switch or leave their jobs based in New York City, further stifling New York City’s economic recovery in a city that has been plagued by COVID shutdowns.
On paper, congestion pricing aims to create a revenue pipeline for the MTA to modernize public transportation infrastructure and reduce congestion in various parts of the city. In practice, this is a failed policy that will only deepen the economic pain which so many hardworking New Yorkers are already experiencing.
With New York already facing a mass exodus, this Hochul Hike will help kick the outward flow of migration into overdrive.
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