One of New York City’s preeminent jurists, Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr., affirmed today that the city possesses full legal authority to toll its own roads and bridges and thus does not require state approval to implement congestion pricing.
Numerous studies have documented the phenomenon known as induced demand in transportation: Basically, if you build highway lanes, more drivers will come. And yet, transportation agencies rarely account for this effect when planning road projects.
Calling congestion "self-correcting" is a convenient way to steer the subject away from congestion pricing. The argument is that drivers can bail when congestion "gets bad enough." Problem solved -- without collective (governmental) action requiring political leadership. Let's unpack that.
Congestion is growing and transit ridership is falling in NYC. But at a moment when transit desperately needs smart stewardship, the city's political leaders, especially Governor Andrew Cuomo, are nowhere to be found.