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Congestion Pricing

Get the Facts About Congestion Pricing in Your District Right Here

In David Weprin’s Eastern Queens district, just 4.2 percent of commuters would pay a congestion fee. Chart: TSTC

The go-to line about congestion pricing that you hear from David Weprin and company is that it's an unfair fee on working stiffs from Eastern Queens. Sometimes you'll get variations on the theme, like when Mayor de Blasio says flatly that "Brooklyn and Queens" will pay disproportionately.

These lines of attack crumble as soon as you look at Census data about how people get to work in NYC. We live in a transit town where most people don't car commute, and even most car commuters wouldn't pay a congestion fee because they don't work in the traffic-choked heart of the region. The transit commuters who would stand to benefit from improvements made with congestion pricing, meanwhile, tend to earn far less than their car commuting neighbors.

Now the Tri-State Transportation Campaign has done us the great favor of breaking down this Census commute data by state legislative district. If you want to make sure your Albany representatives know that congestion pricing can help the vast majority of their constituents, look up your State Senate and Assembly reps and get some data to share on your next phone call to their legislative offices. Bookmark the page.

The factsheets update a similar analysis that Tri-State released in 2007, with current legislative districts and more recent Census numbers.

There's not a single district in the MTA service region where even 10 percent of commuters would pay a congestion fee, Tri-State found. In some districts, the ratio of transit riders to car commuters into the Manhattan Central Business District is 30 to 1.

Even in Weprin's Eastern Queens district, just 4.2 percent of commuters would pay a congestion fee under the Fix NYC recommendations. Among the commuters who work in the CBD, more than 80 percent take transit.

Census data isn't going to stop Weprin and his cohort in Albany from fighting congestion pricing. But it shows who they're fighting for, and it's not the mythical masses they say they're defending. Those working stiffs are riding subways and buses.

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