Transportation advocates outlined a congestion pricing plan that would charge drivers for entering Manhattan's central business district via four East River bridges and across 60th Street.
For-hire vehicles would be exempt from the plan and instead pay a congestion surcharge based on travel time and distance within the Manhattan taxi exclusion zone.
This plan would reduce vehicular traffic going into Manhattan, where there are already an abundance of public transportation options.
But for the first time the plan is not so Manhattan-centric. Drivers that want to get from the Bronx to Queens for example, are incentivized to take two free East River crossings and briefly enter Manhattan.
That's adding time and miles to commutes – and more emissions into the atmosphere – just to avoid those extremely costly Bronx-to-Queens tolls. If you make that trip every day, the extra 15 to 20 minutes in the car just makes sense budget-wise to avoid a $300 monthly EZPass tab.
This plan would actually reduce that toll and make the regular flow of traffic more sensible. And for once, outer-borough residents wouldn't feel like they are being taxed because of a lacking public transportation infrastructure.
How frustrating is it that there's a toll to go from Howard Beach to Rockaway, a trip that never leaves the borough, and yet East River crossings into Manhattan are free?
The more time you spend living in New York City, the less the tolls makes sense.
It's time the mayor took a long look at congestion pricing, especially as transportation advocates released their most recent proposal, which would not require Albany's approval. No more hiding behind Governor Andrew Cuomo on this one.