New York City plans to significantly increase car and truck rates unless critics can first stop the plans.

Traffic moves along 34th Street towards Hudson Yards

Traffic along 34th Street in New York City. (Gary Harthorne/Getty Images)

New York City has long been known to have the worst traffic in the United States and the longest Commuting timebut an innovative policy that could come into force within the next year could cut both.

Congestion fees, which require private vehicles to pay to enter downtown and midtown Manhattan during business hours, are in the final stages of review by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and are expected to receive final approval this spring.original plan was beyond Proposed by the New York State Legislature in 2019 as a way to finance the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which operates subways, city buses, and suburban commuter rail.During the Trump administration, the Department of Transportation declined to approve Congestion pricing plan, but the plan is moving forward as the White House president is more favorable to public transit.

Proponents of congestion pricing plans, as global cities such as London and Singapore have already implemented, believe the plans, if implemented well, will help American cities reduce traffic, improve mass transit, and reduce pollution. can show how to reduce

Current plans include TransCoreIt is the vendor of choice for the MTA.

But dealing with New York’s worsening traffic problems may not be so easy. objection to the plan The issue was raised by suburban New Yorkers, politicians in neighboring states, and even some New Yorkers who initially supported peak toll increases.

Vehicles waiting to enter the Holland Tunnel in Lower Manhattan

Vehicles waiting to enter the Holland Tunnel in downtown Manhattan. (NDZ/STAR MAX/IPx via AP)

Under state law, New York City lacks the authority to enforce road pricing on its own, and because some of its tolled highways connect to the federal interstate highway system, It required government approval. Interest groups such as suburban politicians and taxi drivers seem unlikely to successfully block enforcement in state capitals and Washington, D.C., but they can convince courts that their rights are being violated. may be trying to

New York City is the most transit-dependent U.S. city. 58% of commuters Use public transport compared to 5% nationally. However, the country’s oldest subway system is not aging, with an outdated signaling system and constant repair work making it unreliable and slow in service. And more than 30 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed, only a quarter of his subway stations in the system are wheelchair accessible. For agencies, $54.8 billion plan Signals need to be updated, elevators added to 70 stations, and other infrastructure improvements, but Congestion fee revenue Especially since the number of subway users decreased sharply due to the pandemic, partial recovery.

Transportation analyst Charles Komanoff modeled how congestion charges change the number of cars and trucks entering the lower half of Manhattan. He estimates that congestion pricing will reduce New York’s carbon footprint by one million tons per year. 216,000 units completely offroad. This is because some car trips are skipped to avoid paying tolls, he said, and toll revenues are used to improve mass transit services, resulting in more commuters traveling by car. will use public transportation instead of

Alon Levy, a transportation and land use program fellow at the NYU Marron Institute, calculated that all subways and buses arrive every six minutes.Occupancy rate will go up 15%.

“The stick and the candy roughly split the CO2 reductions in half. It’s going to be,” Komanoff told Yahoo News.

Morning commuters waiting for a packed train in Brooklyn, New York

Morning commuters wait for a packed train in Brooklyn, New York. (Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

After London began charging drivers for entering the central business district during the day in 2003, particulate matter and nitrogen oxide pollution in the city fell by 12% and carbon dioxide fell. 20% decreaseaccording to FHWA.

New York’s 2019 law requires the MTA to set a fee that raises about $1 billion a year. Pricing charges to achieve this can range from $9 to $23 for cars and $12 to $82 for trucks. The reason for the wide range reflects the difficult process that lies ahead. That is, determining who is exempt from paying higher tolls.

Only two groups should be exempt under the new law: vehicles carrying disabled people and emergency vehicles. Anyone who lives within the congestion zone and earns less than $60,000 can get a tax refund on toll payments. But many other groups want exemption, including taxi drivers and drivers of ride-hailing apps like Uber. Small and medium-sized enterprises It’s like a commercial bakery that delivers goods in Manhattan.Then there are the New York Police Department officers, whose largest union is request a waiver Because their work schedules require the flexibility that only a private car can provide.

But the group trying to undermine congestion pricing is in New Jersey, not New York. New Jersey drivers already pay tolls for bridges and tunnels across the Hudson River, and many elected officials have called for those tolls to be reduced from the tolls to enter congestion zones. to make up for lost revenue. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (DN.J.) and Rep. Nicole Mariotakis (RN.Y.) are representatives of Staten Island. pay to cross Verrazano Bridge to Brooklyn on the way to Manhattan — Congress introduced a bill to block congestion charges.

Malliotakis and Gottheimer argue that it is unfair for drivers to subsidize the MTA.

A car drives through Times Square

Cars in Times Square in New York City. (Jen Moreno/Viewpress/Getty Images via Corbis)

“We will track toll evaders and turnstile jumpers and make New York City’s transportation system safer and more accessible to more residents and visitors. Please stop treating me like that.” mario takis said When she and Gottheim introduced the bill last August.”The MTA is a notorious black hole and the Inspector General must audit all federal dollars received by the MTA.”

“[The MTA] We’re spending far more than any other large-scale transit system, and we’re wasting several times more money than congestion fees would add,” said Conor Harris, a policy analyst at the Manhattan Institute. Wrote an article in City Journal in 2018 Requested MTA 50% more spending Travel 1 mile from London Underground or Paris Underground.

Observers say the bill introduced by Mario Takis and Gottheimer is unlikely to pass Congress, but New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said he would try to extract concessions from New York Governor Kathy Hochol. Like the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. There is also the threat of lawsuits from various interest groups such as taxi drivers.

Officials elected from suburbs within New York state have expressed similar opposition.

“A lot of us see it as essentially a commuter tax,” New York State Rep. Edward La, a Republican from Long Island, told Yahoo News. “What we need to do to get more voters on board is to see structural changes within the MTA, from their perspective.”

Subway commuters struggling in rush hour traffic

Subway commuters competing with rush hour traffic. (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Transportation advocates who unanimously support congestion pricing say these politicians are more likely to drive into Manhattan than the majority who commute on public transit or don’t work in Manhattan at all. 2021 data analysis found 1.6% of commuters From upstate New Jersey to the busy streets of Manhattan.

“People in Jersey have acted as if everyone in Jersey got up in the morning and drove to Manhattan because that’s the case with wealthy donors to the House of Representatives. [Gottheimer]But that’s not the case for the average Jersey person,” said Danny Pearlstein, spokesman for the Riders Alliance, an organization that advocates for public transit users. “Eighty percent of people [from New Jersey] People coming to Manhattan should use the train or bus. ”

Outside of New York City, which supported congestion pricing after an environmental assessment of the MTA’s congestion pricing found that air quality could deteriorate in certain areas outside of congestion zones in order for trucks to avoid congestion charging. Even some elected officials from the districts have begun to express their concerns. commission. Rep. Richie Torres (DN.Y.), whose congressional district, the poorest in the nation, covers most of the South Bronx, said increased truck traffic on the Cross Bronx highway would exacerbate an already high asthma rate. I am concerned that

“I am a proponent of congestion pricing in principle,” Torres said in a statement last year. “That said, any plan to intensify diesel truck traffic on the Cross Bronx Freeway would raise serious public health and racial equity concerns.”

New Jersey commuters line up to cross the George Washington Bridge into Manhattan.

New Jersey commuters cross the George Washington Bridge into Manhattan. (Julio Cortez/AP)

Komanov et al. say that congestion charges will ultimately benefit the outer boroughs, thanks to better transportation services and less traffic passing through on their way to Manhattan.

“The average trip landing in Manhattan takes up ten times more road space than outside Manhattan. [central business district] Just like that, ”said Komanov. “Every time you lose a trip, you lose far more distance outdoors than you do indoors.”

It can also have unintended consequences on traffic patterns. Proponents say it has been fixed with changes to other roads that reroute traffic.

“Air quality is unlikely to be adversely affected outside of congestion zones, but there are always mitigation measures that can be taken,” Pearlstein said.

Share of transportation costs in 2021 38% of U.S. energy-related emissions, according to the Congressional Budget Office can’t fix Traffic jam due to many drivers on the road. Climate activists say the only solution to traffic and climate change is for Americans to drive less. But if it doesn’t work in New York, does it work anywhere?