Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Congestion Pricing May Get Approval...

...in New York that is. A few months ago, I wondered in a post, if a FREE buses and subway system could fly here in DC. The theory stood that if motorists were charged a steep, but rigid and enforced congestion fee for driving in the downtown core of Washington, the revenues could subsidize public transportation. An NYC-centric proposal was put together by Nurture New York's Nature, but remains just a neat idea with no political teeth. That exact plan is still not close to reality.

However, the New York City Council recently approved a plan, charging an $8.00 congestion fee for all cars entereing Manhattan below 60th Street. That means you'd be charged for driving into roughly the lower third of Manhattan, including most of the trendy neighborhoods (Lower East Side, Financial District, Times Square, the Village, etc), plenty of tourist attractions, museums galore, theaters and music venues, 5th Ave shopping and hotel, hotels, hotels. Most visitors already pay to enter Manhattan through the Holland, Lincoln and Brooklyn Battery tunnels. Never have drivers been charged to just drive beyond a numbered street on the city grid before. The city must get state approval before implementing the plan and there's still an issue of securing a large chunk of federal dollars in order to get the project off the the ground. So, its not a done deal, but a step has been made to move forward.

What do you think? Are congestion fares, well, fair? Would they result in less cars on the road and more people on trains? Or will this be an exercise in messy futility? And... could it work in DC?