Reducing Congestion Crucial To Economic Health, But Plans Fall Short

<p>Congestion is getting worse in Metro New York, and the proposals to reduce it aren't going to work, argues Sam Staley, and the region's economy is going to suffer greatly as a result.</p>
December 1, 2007, 11am PST | Nate Berg
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"Both proposals fail to grapple with the root of the congestion crisis on land and in the air: the transportation network's physical infrastructure has not kept pace with demand. And the failure to come to grips with this situation will have significant long-term consequences for the region's economy."

"Traditionally, economists have claimed that a certain degree of congestion is efficient because the costs of eliminating congestion might not exceed the benefits. And some urban planners believe that congestion is actually good for the economy because it forces people to take public transportation and shop locally. Indeed, if congestion is so terrible, why aren't the economic consequences more visible?"

"But the problem is that the region continues to grow, and congestion's negative economic effects continue to broaden. The New York City and Northern New Jersey area, which includes Long Island and Westchester County, is expected to add at least 3.5 million people by 2030, on top of the 18 million people already there. This growth is not sustainable if congestion continues to go unchecked and elected officials continue to opt for blunt policy choices like caps that fail to address the need to expand capacity."

"But if congestion continues, eventually it will eat away at economic productivity in the region."

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Published on Sunday, November 25, 2007 in The New York Times
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