NEW YORK CITY: Cuomo Pitches Congestion Charges For Manhattan In Bid To Fund Crumbling Subway

Oh look. Other news. The New York Times reports:

A decade ago, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York offered a plan to ease traffic in Manhattan and raise hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the city’s aging infrastructure. Drivers would be charged $8 to enter the most congested parts of Manhattan during peak commuting hours. The plan was crushed in Albany, derailed before it was even brought for a vote.

Now, with the city’s subways in crisis — with daily delays increasingly common and its equipment in dire condition — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who once doubted that congestion pricing would gain any traction in the state, is planning to resurrect the idea and will expend political capital to see it succeed.

With voters increasingly blaming him for the transit mess, Mr. Cuomo is working behind the scenes to draft a proposal and is using Mr. Bloomberg’s failed campaign as a lesson to improve its chances of winning the support of stakeholders, including the State Legislature.

A grassroots group has proposed charging tolls each way on all the East River bridges, which are currently free in each direction. London instituted congestion pricing in 2003.

  • Yalma Cuder-Zicci

    Albany crushed this idea a decade ago, but what did they think was the better solution? Doing nothing? Raising subway fares?

    • BobSF_94117

      Letting things get worse and then blaming Democrats was their goal, I assume.

      • Yalma Cuder-Zicci

        NYC needs to become it’s own state or district like DC. It’s nuts having politicians from small towns or rural areas deciding what happens in the second largest city in the world.

        • Hanwi

          People in small rural areas decide the fate of the entire country, thank you electoral college.

        • Joe in PA

          I hear you, but I’d be careful about wishing anything like DC. First no [voting] representation in Congress, and the battle between the suburbs (in other states!) is awful. Everybody points to everybody else. 🙁

        • canoebum

          Well, since NYC is totally dependent on the water we Upstaters provide, any talk of a new political division will have to begin an adjustment of water costs. Creating NYC as a separate district would deprive the rural areas and small cities of New York of tax revenues generated by the economy of the city. The difference would have to be bridged by a new arrangement for our water.

          Still sound nuts to you?

          • Yalma Cuder-Zicci

            A new agreement on water sounds just fine to me. Since you are an upstater who benefits from NYC taxes, what would you recommend NYC do about it’s crumbling subway system??

          • canoebum

            My own view is that the money should come from Business Taxes. It is the businesses of NYC which benefit most from the rapid transit system, by enabling their workforce to get where the businesses need them on a daily basis. Also, a real estate surtax, especially for luxury and super high rise residential properties could raise significant revenues. If a person or LLC can plunk down 5,10 million dollars or more for a condo, they can afford to help pay for the transit system. The very last place they should look are to the riders. Fares are already too high as it is.

        • stevenj

          Republicans in the Calif. state legislature have historically been hostile to transit (and road) improvements. Arnold took all the gas tax money for several years (to the tune of $3billion) and used it instead to balance the state budget. Sued in state court and lost but the money has never been repaid. Federal money has been also hard to get. Voters voted in a Dem supermajority last Nov which resulted in a $58billion transportation bill signed by Jerry Brown several months ago. The cost of years and years of delays funding transportation. Republicans would rather kill their mothers than raise taxes. Vote out NY Republican state legislators.

  • jaydee5000

    As a NYC resident, ANYTHING that reduces traffic is welcome.

  • JoeMyGod

    London: “£11.50 daily charge for driving a vehicle within the charging zone between 07:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday.”

    Whoa. That’s about $16.

    • Ranger One

      Make the people who use it, pay for it.

      • The_Wretched

        And keep the poor from cluttering up the roads.

        • Ranger One

          But if they can pay for clutter they create, pay for that crap. A few bucks? make your own Joe, skip the Fuckin Donuts, and frigging pay for some asphalt and rails you use.

          • The_Wretched

            I’m not fond of user fees unless they are limited and really do represent ‘user fees’ rather than excuses to keep from having appropriate taxes.

      • Hanwi

        I agree in principle but I don’t think that metric can be applied universally. Government must play some part in public transportation.

        • JustDucky

          And that’s exactly the role government should seek to play: providing public transportation. In Portland, Oregon the Max line is (was? it’s been a while) totally free to use downtown. It’s convenient, clean, and relatively fast. It greatly reduces the need for a car in the city. And fewer cars on the road is better for everyone.

          • Hanwi

            I don’t agree with the government footing the bill for the entire project but a portion of it sure. Riders who use the service should have to pay something, especially a subway which is hella expensive to construct.

      • j.martindale

        They already do pay for the roads with oil taxes. No, the poor get shafted when you tax roads. That is a regressive tax that hurts the working poor the worst. Toll roads end up being a tax benefit to the rich,

        To follow this argument to its natural conclusion, if the subways need repair, have the people that use them pay for it rather than the drivers. Raise subway fares.

        I prefer the progressive tax route of taxing excessive wealth.

        • JustDucky

          Would that hold true in NYC? Or are the working poor already priced out of driving in the city because of the cost of parking?

          “We did some research and found that the average cost of NYC monthly parking is around $430.”

          http://nycparkingauthority.com/best-nyc-monthly-parking-deals/

        • metrored

          I’m with you here to a point. Oil & gas taxes are pretty regressive too. Also, in the case of New York, car ownership is such an expensive luxury that it’s doubtful that the working poor are the ones driving in and out of Manhattan every day for work.

        • Steven H

          Gas taxes cover less than 50% of road costs, and that’s not even counting city streets (which are generally not financed by gas taxes). Further, federal gas taxes aren’t indexed to inflation, so we’ve taken in 2% less every single year since 1996, even as infrastructure costs grow faster than inflation. Gas mileage has also increased (which is important, because–unlike sales taxes–gas taxes are charged by gallon, not by dollar), so people drive more and pay less every single year.

          Finally, and most importantly, cars take up too much space! One person in a car takes up more than 150+ square feet of road space when they’re standing still, and up to 3x that when they are moving, and they still need to store the thing all day while it isn’t being used.

          The math here is just unsustainable.

  • Jonathan Smith
  • Treant

    I don’t really have a ribbon on the fence here since I don’t go to NYC and Joe mentions they have this in London.

    Still. The city has subway and transportation issues, so it’s going to penalize those who have to travel in the city during peak hours…charging them because the city has subway and other transportation issues.

    Once said issues fade, funded by the charge, the charge certainly won’t go away. You continue to charge out-of-town people disproportionately to visit your city at unapproved hours. Which makes me even less likely than my current near-zero probability to visit you.

    I dunno, off the top of my head, how about instituting or changing a city income tax to tap a little extra off the rich, like Melanoma, who live and get driven around in their limos without any thought of ever setting foot on a bus? Just sayin’.

  • Mike C

    I don’t know why this is controversial. There’s no reason whatsoever to drive your car to work if you work in Manhattan*. None. I live in Brooklyn, I own a car, and it’s the drop-dead last thing I would ever want to do in the morning.

    *Occasionally, like when you’re heading out of town after work, fine.

    • Ninja0980

      Costs $$$ and we can’t have that when it comes to helping people can we?

      • Treant

        Well, not when it disproportionately impacts those who work in the city but cannot afford to live there and have to, or choose to, commute.

        There are people who live in my area but work in NYC. There’s no appreciable, and certainly no efficient, public transport from here to the city. It’s a 2 hour drive.

        • Joe in PA

          Wouldn’t it be incredible to have a train from Allentown? Dang.

          • Treant

            Yeah, it sure would. I could be there in half an hour or so, knock into the city and hang for the day, then go home.

            As it is…no. I’m not going to drive 2 hours, fight the traffic, fight for parking, pay through the nose for parking, then pay through the nose for everything else.

          • Joe in PA

            We take the bus. Beiber or Transbridge. They both drop you at the Port Authority. It is a little pricey but sure beats that drive, $$ tolls and $$ parking!

          • Chris H.

            Wish someone had the forethought of allowing space for a rail line along 78 when it was completed in the early 90s.

          • Joe in PA

            I know. And as much as I liked the idea of “rails to trails” for using old railroad right-of-ways for bike trails…I fear that a big giveaway happened if they ever wanted to be used as light rail.

          • Keiffer

            There’s a decades old plan to get one that runs from through there and through Pottstown (my stomping grounds) onto NYC. I used to go to the city frequently for work and it was always a coin toss to go to 30th St or drive to Jersey City.

          • Joe in PA

            Almost anything would be better than a drive from Pottstown to 30th St. Ugh. It is so crazy…that awful road at any time of the day or night. 🙁

    • CB

      I’m in Manhattan and have never needed a car. The rare rental, but I’m a big public transit fan, so I love Amtrak, the subway, etc. Fortunately, I can walk to work so I don’t have to deal with rush hour. And Citibike is my new best friend.

  • JoeMyGod

    I’m guessing there are a few hundred parking garage owners who will fight this.

    • bkmn

      Definitely. Last time I was in NYC (probably ~15 years ago) I had a rental car and parking costs ran about $30 overnight and $45-55 anywhere during the day.

    • Jonathan Smith

      there are not that many parking garages in NYC (Manhattan) propper

      • JoeMyGod

        Disagree. The are hundreds of paid garages in the basements of apartment towers alone. Most spaces are monthly rentals for residents but they do offer daily and weekly rentals.

        • Jonathan Smith
        • Vira

          In addition to Congestion Pricing:

          1) Institute a Parking Surcharge to fund infrastructure.

          2) Meter ALL on-street parking to fund infrastructure.

          3) Increase enforcement of ticketing for double parking, horn blowing, false car alarms, expired inspection and registration, and fraudulent out-of-state registrations.

          4) Institute an employer transport-payroll contribution to fund infrastructure.

          5) Institute an employee transport-payroll contribution to fund infrastructure.

          6) Institute a Transportation Surcharge for all cars registered to NYC addresses (all five boroughs).

          7) Institute a Transportation Surcharge on rental cars.

          8) Institute a Transportation Surcharge on gasoline and diesel sales.

      • Ernest Endevor

        There are many many many. And also many. And such as.

    • Yalma Cuder-Zicci

      They need to just invest in large parking garages in New Jersey, Long Island, and Westchester County.

      • Octavio

        Good idea. Mount Kisco would benefit greatly if turned into a parking lot.

  • Do Something Nice

    People with colds and allergies are going to be taxed? That seems unfair.

  • bkmn

    I would prefer to see the costs spread around – tolls on the east bridges/increase parking fees at meters/increase # of meters/increase subway fares/add another buck or two to hotel taxes per night/etc.

  • John Perry

    The problem with a “congestion tax” is that it’s initial purpose in London was to reduce the congestion of automobile traffic. To reduce the traffic they had to have a public transit system that can handle the increase of people who will stop using their cars. NYC does not have the system to handle the increase of users. Reducing the number of cars will increase subway/bus usage.

    • Vira

      Chicken. Egg. The problem in NYC is lack of funding for subway improvements. It’s not gonna get better until they raise funding.

  • safari
    • safari
    • Lazycrockett

      I do hope Rachel was off the mark bout Manchin taking over Dept Of Energy and opening up a senate seat for a Republican.

      • jerry

        Yeah, I hope he realizes it’s nothing but a power grab for another senate seat. He’d be fired after 2 months on the job.

    • Jean-Marc in Canada
      • Octavio

        If he mentions Venezuela I bet he’ll refer to the people of that country as venizuelonians from the planet Venisuela.

        • 2guysnamedjoe

          They’re those Messicans from Venezuela.

      • -M-

        One good thing about the horror in Charlottesville is the way it distracted shitgibbon from inciting a military confrontation with North Korea.

    • Octavio

      Do detect lots and lots of carpet stains on that sunburst pattern? They could at least go to Home Depot and rent a Rug Doctor.

    • Ken M

      What? No Rose Garden?…I’m Crushed. : )

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    UPDATE: For those who have been asking. Today, Esteban woke up alert and relatively refreshed. He still has slight paralysis in his face, but it has diminished, a very good sign. He’s not slurring his words, in fact he’s been quite chatty this morning. He’s been asking what’s happening as he senses there’s bad news. Remember, this all started because of Trump NK nonsense, he has no clue as to what happened this weekend in Charlottesville. The Doctor reminded me and Sean that no news or negative information at this time. Beyond that, all is good. I’ve been recording Teen Wolf, Game of Thrones and Shadowhunters for him to watch, so he’ll be a happy husbotter. That’s it for now. Hugs and again, your thoughts and kind words continue to give me strength.

    • Stubenville

      Sorry, this is the first time i noticed your thread. It sounds like a stroke – correct? Rehab will be key; get him into a rehabilitation program which will push his boundaries hard every day. And it will be exhausting for your husband; most patients can only tolerate a couple of 90 minute sessions a day. Also know that strokes “rewire” certain portions of the brain, and unexpected noises (a phone ringing, for example) may cause a reaction that seems out of proportion.

      • Jean-Marc in Canada

        He had a panic attack when the whole North Korea saber rattling happened (he has a brother in Guam), that led to a mild heart attack; which is why he was in Hospital. The next day, an embolism traveled to the brain and yes, a stroke. Thankfully, like the heart attack, it appears to have been mild, especially given how quickly his paralysis is fading and his speech is returning. That said, you’re right, he’ll be needing therapy when he gets out, which if all goes well, should be the end of the week.

        • Stubenville

          Most of stroke recovery plateaus at about six months, so getting him into a great program is crucial. Start your research ASAP. Best wishes for his speedy recovery.

        • djcoastermark

          I had no idea this happened. 🙁 Glad to hear things are looking up though. 🙂

        • Stubenville

          I failed to comment on his aphasia; seek advice from his physician on how to help. I believe just patiently allowing him work his own way around roadblocks when speaking is the best approach. You’re not helping in the long term by reeling off a list of possible words.

          • Jean-Marc in Canada

            I’m sorry, but why are you accusing me of not helping? I’m not reeling off any words. I just….ok, I’m upset now, I’m going stop before I write something rude.

          • Stubenville

            I’m sorry, that was not my intention; I’m sure you’re doing your best for your husband. I’ve had several relatives who have had strokes, and I’ve had one myself, so I speak from experience. The aphasia advice is tricky; talk to his physician. It is human nature to want to help, but providing a list of words when he is struggling to find the right one may not be the best approach.

          • Jean-Marc in Canada

            I know it wasn’t, I’m just very tired. That said, he’s speaking clearly and lucidly, no aphasia seems present at this point, though it could still occur. We’ve already set up therapy and a specialist will be seeing him over the next 3 to 6 months, the Doctors are working that out. Again, it appears that it was a minor stroke so there’s cautious optimism; but I have no illusions.

          • Stubenville

            You and hubby have every reason to be optimistic; he will likely make a good recovery. It’s now four years after my stroke and nobody can tell. I am a little unsteady on my feet when I am tired, and I have a little bit of numbness below the knee on my right leg, but that’s really all that remains. And believe me, I was a hot mess when I made it to the ER.

            Two more bits of advice; he’ll probably be on blood thinners. Coumadin is a PITA because it requires constant monitoring, tinkering with the dosage, and dietary restrictions. Modern blood thinners like Eliquis and Plavix are much easier to manage, if his physician thinks they’re right for him. Second, pick up a small package of Wound Seal online or from your local pharmacy. It’s inexpensive and staunches bleeding instantly. People on blood thinners will bleed profusely from even a tiny cut.

            http://woundseal.com/

    • CB

      Really, really glad to hear this! The speed of recovery bodes well. Hugs to both of you as you go through this.

      • Janbbyers

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    • Octavio

      Good to hear he’s improving. Has his physician also told him to lay off on having an orgasm? If not, give him a blow job and tell him it’s from me. 😀

    • Silver Badger

      Thank you for keeping us informed.

    • Hank

      JM, thanks for the update. I am glad, that your husband is doing relatively well, considering, what he has gone through. Give him the JMG love, and YOU take care of YOURSELF, as well. You both will have a lot of healing. Hugs to you both! ❤️

    • boatboy_srq

      Good news. [[[HUG]]] to you both. Ditto the rehab guidance (effective, more, now). And make sure you get support for yourself: caregiver is a stressful, exhausting endeavor, and the more help YOU get the more help you’ll be to him.

    • Bad Tom

      Good, good, very good!

  • Ernest Endevor

    About time. Though it doesn’t seem to have done much to stop traffic in central London. Though who knows how much worse it might have been?

  • Stubenville

    So screw the middle class. How about eliminating the enormous tax loopholes on co-op residences, so they’re treated the same as condos. Currently they’re not subject to inheritance taxes, etc.

    • LatrinaDiBucca

      Your information is incorrect. Co-ops and condos are both treated disparately relative to single-family dwellings in terms of property tax valuation.

      As for inheritance taxes? That’s as wrong as two left shoes.

  • Ragnar Lothbrok

    I can’t even fathom what it must be like to live there.

    • canoebum

      It’s great if you’re in your 20s or 30s, or have a lot of money, or both. I left when I was 32 to live in the North Country, with trees, fresh air, quiet nights and not too many neighbors.

    • Ken M

      LOTS of money for starters.

      • Stubenville

        Double whatever you think a generous salary is, for starters. $125K elsewhere needs to be $250K in NYC.

        • Ken M

          If you have been there since 1971 in the same location, you can always apply for “rent control.” Good luck with that.

    • CB

      I love living here. I walk or bike to work. I don’t own a car. I go to theaters, museums, classes and, of course, work. I wanted to live here since the first time my parents brought me here at 6, and I’ve never looked back.
      That said, I think you really have to want to live here because it’s not without it’s frustrations, but after many years, I still look around in awe at this city and feel lucky to have been able to live here so long.

      • i love to visit NYC. but i could never live there. too many people bothers me. i do live in a city right now (cleveland) and walk and bus and train to everything i need. but this is a midwestern city, which means we also have wide spaces of open land, trees, and not a mass of people walking downtown every single day. ymmv, but that kind of lifestyle is not for me. the expense of everything there, from a burger to a pair of shoes, also keeps me from being interested in the NYC lifestyle. i think of that as mostly for the young and hungry and ambitious, or the trust funded older rich, who use private cars and have a dozen penthouse servants.

        • CB

          Some of us are neither. LOL But I understand your point. And, I really like Cleveland. Work has taken me there many times. I love the scale, and found it very friendly.

    • TuuxKabin

      Been in the same two block area along Riverside Park for 40 years. Wouldn’t consider anywhere else. 35 years of commuting to work was a 17 minute walk.

  • Octavio

    Hmmmm . . . to enter San Francisco from the north on the Golden Gate the charge is a one-time payment toll invoice of $31 for a typical four-axle car or truck. And it’s only $6 to cross the Bay Bridge from Oakland into SF. If you enter SF from surface streets further down the peninsula you pay with a little bit of your soul in frustration and taxed patience negotiating the traffic.

    • stevenj

      I think a 4 axle vehicle is a big rig. The regular auto toll on the GG Bridge is $6.65 with Fastrack or $7.75 without (southbound only). No toll northbound. And no more toll takers. Fastrack is a digital transponder for your windshield. If you don’t have one your license plate is photographed and you get a bill in the mail. The Bay Bridge has 3 different tolls depending on time of day/day of week. $6 rush hours Mon to Fri, $5 weekends, $4 non rush hours weekdays. The north and southbound traffic entering/leaving SF southbound in both directions (Bayshore Frwy and 280) has become hellish at rush hours.

      • Octavio

        According to the official site for the Golden Gate, (http://goldengatebridge.org/tolls_traffic/toll_rates.php) a two axle is a motor cycle, a three axle is a three-wheel vehicle, and a four axle is a vehicle with four axles (a car or light truck with four wheels). Delivery trucks with double axles and tractor trailers pay substantially more. The best deal if you drive into the city daily is to fill out a form for a one-time toll fee. That amounts to only $31 for multiple entries rather than coughing up $7.75 every day for a month. I don’t know if that one time fee is monthly or annually. I’ve always used someone else’s car to buzz about SF and haven’t had to buy one.

        To get both in and out of Buenos Aires on any of the autopistas costs the equivalent of a couple of dollars at a minimum of two and usually three different toll booths. You get a plastic card that looks like a credit card, stick it up in clear envelope on the driver’s side of your windshield. As you breeze through, the fast lanes scan you like a quart of milk at the grocery store. They send you a monthly bill later. No scanning license plates. So, if you have more than one car you can use the same card on different vehicles. The system has been in place since 2000, If you don’t register a scanning card you end up scrambling to find enough change to toss at toll booths. That is difficult, because there is often a shortage of regular change (coins) because everyone hoards it for the Subte and collectivos.

        • Franciscan

          Hello, Octavio, please read more carefully. I had a hard time getting to the fare chart for the Golden Gate Bridge, but here it is:

          http://goldengatebridge.org/tolls_traffic/documents/multi-axle-vehicle-toll-chart-2017.pdf

          A normal automobile, which has only two axles, is charged $6.75 with the Fastrak account and $7.75 without it.

        • stevenj

          Axels, schmaxels, I had to look it up to see how many axels a sedan had. Normally fairly butch but cars…..? I’d call AAA to recharge my battery rather than flag down the cutest driver in sight to ask for a charge.

          The GG Bridge district offers no other discounts (not sure where you are getting the $31 toll – a 2 axel car w/trailer?) other than the Fastrack discount. Not a regular commuter but have never been charged more than $6.75 in the hubby’s 2 door. The tolls all went up July.

          • Octavio

            I was just quoting their official site.

  • Oscarlating Wildely

    Will there be an increase in subway services as traffic goes subterra or more busses? If not cross town bus service just got even worse–is that possible?– and the 6 became even more of a torture chamber.

  • Ken M

    With 20+ years of work ahead of them , they better get started soon. There will be transporters before they get that work done. : )

  • netxtown

    Is it right about here where I mention that I’m attending a public hearing this week on widening the nearby state highway to 4 lanes – without tolls? It should cut my commute time into town from 18 minutes to about 17 minutes, 54 seconds….

    • Octavio

      Such progress. 🙂

  • it annoys me greatly, the way so many Murkins high and low, just don’t understand that there is no such thing as a free lunch. public infrastructure costs money. it’s really that simple. a penny on the dollar tax is doable; pick where you’d like to put that but as a smoker and a drinker i know very well where that often ends up. but there is such a thing as a tax on stuff that everyone uses. and also: a local income tax on the super wealthy. NYC is filled with those. my idea would be pretty simple: if you own or rent a property in NYC, you pay a tax on its value every year, money that would be devoted to keeping the city world class. not a regressive one, either. but one that targets the folks who can afford to shave off a million or two, from their annual profits (earnings and investment based), who would still be able to live in their penthouses and ridiculous high rise multifloor mansions. there are other ways too. tourists who are smart know that every ticket and hotel they buy in a city they are visiting is going to be heavily taxed. i budget for that before every trip. it’s a politically easy solution, just as taxing a few hundred billionaires is, for the politicos who are willing to stand up and propose that.

    tldr: civilization costs money. paying for it should be the primary “burden” on the most rich.

    • Stubenville

      And yet, co-ops are taxed far less than conds due to tax loopholes. Get rid of the loopholes!

    • jerry

      Yes, people seem to forget that the interstate highway system was only started in the 1950’s…and the top tax rate was around 90%.

  • Stubenville

    HELLO – SMELL THE COFFEE!

    This is going to heavily impact deliveries. FedEx, UPS, etc are going to pay heavily (I doubt that there will be an exemption for delivery vehicles) so this amounts to an indirect tax on everyone. And if the common carriers don’t institute a Manhattan surcharge, everybody in the USA using their services will be footing the bill, a few pennies at a time.

  • BearEyes

    I wondered how long it take for this to pop up.

  • nipper

    So punish people who are fed up with constantly broken NYC Mass Transit that still have to get into the city, good ideal! Next we will charge people who decide to walk over the East River Bridges!

  • Readen Reply

    First Question: How many of those people who are driving into midtown have the option of mass transit and chose to drive instead?

    • stevenj

      And, how many are solo in their cars?

      • 2guysnamedjoe

        most.