New York has been considering a congestion charge for some years, but it has always been opposed by surrounding boroughs. A good article in the New York Times (see link below), spells out why it should not happen in an article which is headlined “Congestion pricing is coming to NYC — though London shows it’s a disaster”.
This is some of what the article, written by Joe Borelli, minority leader of the New York City Council, says:
“Before Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Legislature smack us with this new tax, they may want to check whether it actually works.
Will it deliver on its promise to greatly reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality and address transit-revenue gaps?
If you ask Londoners, certainly not.
The city’s traffic scheme has not lived up to the hype, and now London is not only the most congested city in the United Kingdom, it is the most congested city in the world.
In 2021, London drivers lost an average of 148 hours to congestion, costing $1,211 per driver, as it topped the most recent Global Traffic Scorecard compiled by INRIX, a leading transportation-analytics firm. (If you’re wondering, New York City is only the fifth-most congested city, just below Moscow.)
This study isn’t an outlier. Pre-COVID London was ranked among the worst traffic cities by the TomTom Traffic Index, “out-trafficking” crowded cities like Shenzhen and Kuala Lumpur. An earlier 2019 Inrix traffic analysis further confirms London has more congestion than New York. Imagine that — the Empire State, the Big Apple taking their cue from a city whose solution is worse than our problem. Bollocks!
Despite London’s ballyhooed congestion charge, it’s planning a massive restructuring. The CO2 from all the idling cars clogging the capital have spurred Mayor Sadiq Khan to propose scrapping the current £15 ($20) fee system altogether in favor of an entirely new scheme in which all London drivers would incur an initial surcharge and pay an existing “Ultra Low Emission Zone” fee, plus pay-per-mile charges as needed.
Nothing screams “Success!” or “Replicate me!” like London’s leadership proposing a start-from-scratch overhaul because the system failed to meet its goals.
Essentially, London may soon be charging motorists as if they were taxi passengers — except they will be driving themselves in their own cars, along streets their tax money already pays for. We could chuckle about the absurdity of all this if only Democrats like President Joe Biden were not already pushing our own mileage-tax proposals here in the States.
The real reason London leaders are planning a vastly expanded tax structure on all vehicles may be far more cynical than saving the planet: The city desperately needs more revenue. Despite all the fees and fines it has collected since congestion pricing went into effect, the city’s public transit and roadway agency, Transport for London (TfL), is going broke.
As it stands, despite receiving a massive COVID bailout from the national government, TfL needs another $1.3 billion annually to operate in the black. Even before the pandemic, TfL’s budget shortfalls and cost overruns were more consistent than its bus schedule.
All this should sound eerily familiar to outer-borough New Yorkers who at present pay for the privilege of driving to posh Manhattan while their own streets remain choked in transit deserts.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority already runs its own version of congestion pricing, called MTA Bridges and Tunnels. Under this scheme, the state chooses which bridges and tunnels motorists must pay to cross to subsidize the public transportation of others. Just like London, a series of anti-car progressive lefties have pushed increases of these fees to satisfy MTA budget needs. In the past 30 years, those tolls have increased more than 375%. Even Bidenflation can’t keep up.
We don’t need to know how a new driving tax will affect our lives — we are already living it.
London’s congestion-pricing failure should serve as a cautionary tale. But our “leadership” in Albany is not going to read it let alone heed its warnings.
Instead, after New York City’s congestion plan creates more traffic, fails to reduce emissions and produces far less revenue than expected, Hochul & Co. are likely to arrive at the same conclusion as their London counterparts: charge more money, impose higher fees and expand the catchment area.
In the end, all roads lead to revenue”
Mr Borelli is right, the London Congestion Charge (a.k.a. tax) has never worked and is primarily a revenue raising measure. It should be scrapped! And New Yorkers should not follow London’s example.
New York Times article: https://nypost.com/2022/03/16/congestion-pricing-is-a-disaster-but-still-coming-to-nyc/
FFDF Page on Congestion Charge: https://www.freedomfordrivers.org/congestion
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