New York toys with idea of city congestion tax
The mayor of the city and the governor of New York toy with the idea to make car drivers pay to enter Manhattan. A city congestion tax like London to finance the ‘subway’. The latter has to be approved by the New York state’s parliament first, but the two Democrats, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, are in favour.
The New York ‘subway’ needs fresh investments urgently. It is one of the world’s busiest metro system with more than six million travellers daily. However, it suffers from frequent delays, dirty metro trains and stations, causing increasing discontent with the customers.
First the New York mayor envisioned a ‘millionaire’s tax’ to modernize the subway. He used to blame Cuomo, offical supervisor of the agency responsible for New York’s public transport (MTA), for all shortcomings of the system.
On Tuesday, however, he acknowledged in a press release that the crisis is so deep, a city congestion tax has ‘among others the best chances for success’. A first urgency plan was put forward by the governor in 2017 to improve signalling to start with. A one billion dollar operation.
Operational by December 2020
This time the propositions are more structural and the congestion tax for Manhattan is one of the spearheads. It would apply under the line of 61st Street. Except the express way east of the city. It will be mandatory for all vehicles, except for emergency ones. It should be operational by December 2020, when all electronic paying systems are in place.
The exact fee is yet to be determined, but according to the NGO Environmental Defense Fund, it could bring in more than one billion dollar yearly.
In June last year, the City of New York already banned all cars in Central Park. De Blasio took the measure to better protect the environment and the comfort of pedestrians in one of the most famous urban parks of the world. It welcomes some 250.000 visitors daily.