Opinion: NY Post’s Michael Goodwin Is Wrong on Congestion Pricing

goodwin column

Michael Goodwin believes that a GoFundMe campaign is a winning strategy to build President Trump’s border wall, asking “Where do I send my check?” in a New York Post column last month.

So when he calls congestion pricing a “scam” in his latest piece on Wednesday, it’s best to ignore his astute analysis. Goodwin wouldn’t know a scam if it walked up and hit him in the face.

In reality, under a congestion pricing plan, drivers will pay their fair share — a small fee, similar to a MetroCard swipe, collected via EZ-Pass readers — when they drive into central Manhattan, the most transit-rich area of the country. In exchange, they’ll get where they need to go faster (with easier parking when they get there, to boot), and the subway will get billions of dollars for critical improvements. Congestion pricing prioritizes the fundamental needs of a vast majority New Yorkers — regular New Yorkers, particularly lower-income workers, outer-borough residents, and seniors, who rely on public transit.

It’s no wonder a majority of the state and city wants to see Albany pass congestion pricing this year.

The MTA is in desperate need of reform, no one is denying that. And after passing congestion pricing, Albany should seriously take up MTA reform. But the transit system has reached crisis stage: cuts to basic upkeep have crippled the subway and bus networks, delays on the subway have tripled over the last five years, subway stations are literally crumbling, and aging trains and signal systems can’t keep up with massive ridership. Meanwhile, streets across the five boroughs are increasingly clogged with traffic, which results in buses moving at walking speeds, delayed deliveries, and increased danger to pedestrians and bicyclists. Every year New York delays addressing this crisis because of bureaucratic squabbling only increases its ultimate human and economic costs.

Anecdotal observations and baseless fear-mongering by people like Goodwin aside, elected officials across all levels of government have a bipartisan mandate to fix the subway now. The state must codify congestion pricing this year, and return New York to its rightful place as a worldwide leader in transit, sustainability, and safety.

Jack Davies is the campaign manager at Transportation Alternatives.

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