If it passes this new bill, New York City would be the first U.S. city to charge car drivers for driving in a busy parts of the City. This proposal was authored by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to allegedly help ease Manhattan traffic while raising revenue for New York City’s deteriorating subways and buses.

According to Cuomo’s proposal, trucks would pay $25.34 per ride, whereas taxis and for-hire cars would pay from a range of $2 to $5 per ride. The charging zone would cover Manhattan south of 60th Street. However, as a middle-ground, the policymakers will exempt drivers from paying if they entered Manhattan via any bridges except two of the city-owned East River bridges, which are now free to cross, as long as they bypass congestion.


Busy street in Manhattan. CC: Chris Parker.

“Before asking commuters to abandon their cars, we must first improve mass transit capacity and reliability,” reads Fix NYC report, which the governor’s proposal is part of. The fees for taxis and for-hire vehicles could be put in place within a year; trucks and cars will follow in 2020.

With New York’s population at an all-time high, its streets have witnessed the increasing traffic while ridership on its signature public transit system has declined on both levels: above and below ground. Using this evidence, Cuomo trusts that his proposal will succeed in spite of the failure of many similar attempts since the 1970s – the main difference being that ridership on public transit system was higher in the past.

“New York City traffic congestion now ranks second worst among cities in the United States and third worst among cities in the world,” the Fix NYC report reads. If the City doesn’t work to abate it, congestion will cost the economy of New York $100 billion over the next five years, according to the task force’s calculations. While New York could be the first U.S. city to pass this traffic charge bill, it isn’t the world’s. Similar traffic charges have already been applied in capital cities like Singapore, Stockholm, London and Milan.

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