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 

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