The results are in from the City Council Progressive Caucus budget survey, and when it comes to road pricing, they’re telling, if unscientific. Road pricing remains unpopular across a broad swath of New York City, though among proponents, support is intense.
The newly-formed caucus is still in the process of inventing itself. Though the 12 members have signed on to a general statement of principles, precisely what they will advocate for remains to be seen. Two months ago, the caucus released a survey asking New Yorkers how they’d fix the city’s budget gap. That survey included a question about tolling bridges into Manhattan.
The results show just how much organizing remains to be done around tolling. Of all the revenue sources surveyed, bridge tolls were the second-most unpopular. Only a property tax hike fared worse. Bridge tolls still had more supporters than opponents, but since every revenue option did, that’s probably just due to the framing of the question.
Interestingly, despite the opposition to bridge tolls, when it came to open-ended responses, support for congestion pricing was one of the most common. So was raising revenue through stepped-up enforcement of traffic and parking regulations.
In other words, support for road pricing is strong — proponents went to the extra trouble of filling in the open-ended questions — but not broadly distributed. And there are a lot of opponents, even among self-selected respondents to a Progressive Caucus survey.
The caucus’s statement of principles calls for "a more sustainable and environmentally just city" and mentions a "sound transportation system" specifically. That should entail strong support for transit, the clean mode choice of most working-class New Yorkers. But if the Progressive Caucus pays attention to these survey results, support for bridge tolls (and presumably congestion pricing as well) may end up pretty low on the agenda.