NYC Mayor Proposes a Fee for Driving into Manhattan
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg proposed charging a new $8 congestion fee to car drivers and $21 for truck operators who come into parts of Manhattan during peak hours during weekdays, according to the New York Times. The $8 congestion fee was one of 127 initiatives included in a sweeping plan by the mayor to help the city of currently 8.2 million people cope with an expected surge in population that he said is sure to put a strain on its transportation, housing, and energy systems.A key objective is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030, by which time the population is projected to grow by at least a million people, he said.The fee the mayor is proposing would only be imposed during the week, between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Motorists driving the major highways along Manhattan’s east and west sides would not be fined, so it would be possible to go from Brooklyn to Harlem along Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive without entering the zone. The fee would be deducted from the tolls commuters already pay to come into Manhattan via the bridges or tunnels.There would be no toll booths, just a network of cameras that would capture license plate numbers and either charge a driver’s existing commuter account or generate a bill to be paid each time. The mayor said that about half of the fees would be paid by New York City residents — and the other half by commuters from surrounding areas. But he pledged not to begin imposing the fee for at least a year, until city officials can upgrade mass transit service into parts of New York City that are currently not well served by the city’s subway or train system.Revenue from the fees, he said, would generate about $400 million in its first year, money that would be used to make improvements in the transit system.