Assembly Considers Bankrupting MTA to Reduce Congestion

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From WCBS-TV via Second Ave. Sagas:

The pressure has been mounting on the legislature to pass the mayor’s
[congestion pricing] proposal, but when lawmakers are under pressure they tend to get
creative … CBS 2 HD learned that a number of alarmed lawmakers are floating
creative ways to ease traffic and reduce pollution without charging a
congestion fee.

The first idea would involve dropping the price to ride the bus or subway during rush hour from $2 to 50 cents.

The
second idea is to increase bridge and tunnel tolls to $6 between 6 a.m.
and 10 a.m., as well as 3 p.m. through 7 p.m. Under that plan, tolls
would be reduced to just $2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A third idea
is what one lawmakers calls "Odds Your In." That idea proposes odd
number license plates can enter the business district on odd number
days and even number plates can enter on even numbered days. The odds
and evens system would also work for truck deliveries, who could also
limit deliveries on certain streets to certain days of the week. Deliveries could also be limited to the nighttime only.

Writes Second Ave. blogger Benjamin Kabak:

As the point of the congestion fee is to discourage driving while
taking in money to improve the city’s infrastructure
, it doesn’t make
any sense to cut the fare by, in effect, 67 percent at peak times. The
MTA would have to triple its ridership just to meet its current fare
revenues.
And tripling the ridership, besides being impossible, would
overwhelm the subway system well beyond the point of collapse.

The toll plan suffers from the same lack of foresight. Tolls are
already pretty expensive; a bump to $6 wouldn’t do much. But the
rebound — $2 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. — would simply push more people
to drive when tolls are dirt cheap.
I’m not even going to mention the
even/odd license plate proposal. That solves no problems, and good luck
enforcing it.

In the end, none of these proposals approach the subtlety and thoroughness of Mayor Bloomberg’s original idea.

Photo: Gak/Flickr 

  • d

    Also, it would seem the city would need the same network of cameras to enforce the “Odds Your In” system that they’d need to enforce congestion pricing.

  • jmc

    Hahah, Odds you’re in? What a horrible solution. Everyone will get second cars! I’d LOVE to see them try to ask people in queens , would you rather toll the east river bridges, have the congestion charge, or be limited to odd-numbered days. Perhaps a pro-congestion charge organization coudl do a poll on this???

    Albany is a town of clowns.

  • jmc

    Hahah, Odds you’re in? What a horrible solution. Everyone will get second cars! That’s what they do in Athens and (if I recall properly) Mexico City.

    I’d LOVE to see them try to ask people in queens , would you rather toll the east river bridges, have the congestion charge, or be limited to odd-numbered days. Perhaps a pro-congestion charge organization could do a poll on this?

    Albany is a town of clowns.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    I’d love to see the subway fare dropped to fifty cents during rush hour … if the legislature makes up the difference in revenue through state funding.

  • Carolyn Konheim

    When are people going to see the emperor has no clothes. The only auto drivers who are going to pay noticeably more are the 60% of CBD entries on the four free East River bridges and across 60th Street. To avoid the political challenge of proposing just slapping up some E-ZPass monitors on the bridge spans, the Mayor proposed two end runs. One is proposing an enormous, advanced charging network that it will comsume most of revenues intended for transit. The second is going around the City Council, which would normally have to send a home rule message to the State legislature by proposing an Authority with unparalleled powers that will can change fees, funding priorities and virtually anything at will. If the Mayor has, indeed, 81% of New Yorkers benind the plan, it is because they endorse the concept of all drivers pauing their way,not a particular collection technology. He can sell them on the equity and efficiency of plugging the hole in bridge tolls, with increased tolls varing by hourly traffic levels collected by the MTA.

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