Mayor Bloomberg’s office proposed the Congestion Pricing plan as part of its PlaNYC program. The goals are:
- Cut traffic by at least 6% in Manhattan
- Provide more attractive subway, bus, and commuter rail options throughout the NYC region
- Improve air quality and public health
- Individual drivers entering Manhattan below 60th Street, which is the area referred to as the Central Business District (CBD), between 6am and 6pm Monday through Friday will be charged.
- There is no charge to leave the CBD or for trips occurring within the CBD.
- The CBD includes the FDR and the West Side Highway below 60th Street.
- Taxi and black car trips starting or ending in the CBD between 6am and 6pm will include a $1 surcharge.
- There will be increased parking rates for on-street parking in the CBD.
- The 8% Resident Parking Tax Exemption for monthly parking in off-street garages and lots will be eliminated.
- Some neighborhoods bordering the CBD may be given Residential Parking Permits (RPPs), which will allow residents to park on the street for short periods during peak commuter hours to ensure that non-residents are not using off-street parking in order to avoid the Congestion Fee.
- There is no fee for the RPPs and the Mayor’s office estimates that the program will cost $1.8 million to implement.
- EZ Pass users will pay $8 for the entire day, no matter how many times they enter the CBD. They will be credited for any tolls paid at bridges and tunnels into Manhattan.
- Non-EZ Pass drivers will pay the toll at a bridge or tunnel plus a $1 ‘License Reading Fee,’ plus the $8 daily Congestion Pricing fee.
- Trucks will pay $21.
The 13,000 taxis, approximately 40,000 black cars (for-hire vehicles), buses, and emergency vehicles.
How will the fees be calculated and charged for individual cars?
Twenty-five cameras will be placed along 60th Street and at other entry points to the CBD. These cameras will read an EZ Pass unit as well as license plates for non-EZ-Pass users.
An individual car not paying the Congestion Pricing fee will have 48 hours to pay through a variety of online, telephone, and retail options, after which time the fee will incur a $65 fine.
Will this plan really reduce traffic?
According to estimates, Congestion Pricing will cut traffic not only in the CBD but also outside the CBD by reducing through traffic destined for the CBD from Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and northern Manhattan.
The Campaign for New York’s Future estimates that a 6% drop in traffic would result in 78,000 more people using public transit. That figure represents less than 1% of the MTA’s current daily ridership. Mayor Bloomberg’s office projects a decrease of 110,000 cars, which is approximately 10% of the average 1 million cars entering Manhattan daily.
How does the city benefit?
If the Congestion Pricing proposal is passed by April 7th, the City will receive $354 million in one-time federal funding. This funding is earmarked for short-term improvements to the mass transit system, primarily in the form of 367 new buses to expand and improve 33 existing lines and create 12 new lines.
These short-term improvements will be into place before Congestion Pricing is implemented, and Bloomberg’s office estimates that to happen within the 2009 calendar year. If Congestion Pricing is not approved, the city will not receive the $354 million in Federal funding.
Congestion Pricing will cost $130 million to implement and will be funded solely by NYC funds. Bloomberg’s office hopes to implement Congestion Pricing by March 2009. This cost will be repaid to the city with the net revenues generated, which are estimated to be $491 million annually, after which the revenues will be "dedicated to expanding and modernizing the mass transit system."
Who supports Congestion Pricing?
- Environmental Defense Fund
- The New York Times
- The New York Daily News
- The New York Post
Facts and Figures
- Only 5% of commuters into Manhattan’s CBD actually drive to work.
- 1.6 million people drive into the CBD daily. 75% of these people drive alone. (Source: Crain’s New York Business, 12/24/07)
- There are approximately 13,00 taxis and 40,000 black cars in Manhattan.
There are 428 parking garages and lots above 60th Street, which represents 39% of the total 1,090 garages and lots in Manhattan.
There are 92 parking garages and lots from 61st to 70th Streets, which is 8% all the garages in Manhattan and 21% of the 428 garages outside the CBD.