Despite continued skepticism from City Hall, a group of transit advocates and researchers are insisting that New York City has the power to impose a $2.75 toll on Manhattan drivers and fund direly needed public transit improvements without first seeking permission from Albany. Move NY made the case before the City Council on Monday, pitching a “home rule” congestion pricing plan they predict could generate more than $1 billion annually for a wide range of projects including expanded bus service in transit deserts, reduced fares for the working poor, and Citi Bike expansion in the outer boroughs.
The $2.75 toll on the four East River bridges, and crossing 60th Street in Manhattan, would cost significantly less than Move NY’s earlier proposed toll of $5.76, which stalled in Albany last year.
“That’s not a number we came up with by accident,” Alex Matthiessen, campaign director of Move NY, told Gothamist on Monday. “It obviously happens to be the price of a subway ticket. We’re basically just saying, ‘Anybody who is traveling into the central business district, unless they are bicycling or walking, should be paying their fair share.'”
Currently, there are tolls on the Verrazano, Kennedy, Throgs Neck and Whitestone Bridges. These would decline under the state Move NY plan, but not the city plan, which would not impact bridges operated by the MTA. Like the state plan, taxis and other for-hire vehicles like Lyft and Uber would pay a surcharge pegged to the amount of time spent in Manhattan’s hyper-congested central business district.
As always to be contrarian, why not just get rid of all the fossil fueled cars and trucks and focus on mass transit above ground? Build some ‘out of city’ parking structures to house the incoming commuters cars.