Altering New York's Congestion Pricing Plan Could Make Transit Free

<p>According to a privately-commissioned study, doubling the proposed New York congestion fee charged to drivers would generate enough money to replace all proceeds derived form transit fares in the city, making fares unnecessary.</p>
December 20, 2007, 5am PST | Nate Berg
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"'If you were to design the ultimate system, you would have mass transit be free and charge an enormous amount for cars.'"

"So said Mayor Michael Bloomberg last April, right about the time he unveiled his plan to charge motorists a fee to drive into Manhattan's central business district. Eight months later, as the mayor's original proposal mutates for better or worse, the MTA is hours away from raising transit fares. Neither idea has exactly caught fire with the public, and the fare hikes could actually end up a foil for congestion pricing -- a plan originally intended as a sustained financial boost for the transit system."

"And then there's Theodore 'Ted' Kheel. The environmentalist, philanthropist, and renowned labor attorney has lobbied for free transit in New York for over 40 years. Last February he commissioned a $100,000 study that, as it turns out, could put the city's money where the mayor's mouth is. A summary of findings released late last week shows that if the city were to impose a $16 congestion fee ($32 for trucks) below 60th Street in Manhattan, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, along with higher curbside parking fees and a taxi surcharge, the MTA could remove its turnstiles and fareboxes forever."

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Published on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 in Streetsblog
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