A New Plan For Congestion Pricing in New York

Charles Komanoff reveals a revised new plan that aims to bring congestion pricing to New York City and use its revenue to reduce the price of transit.
January 12, 2009, 9am PST | Nate Berg
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"Cities like London, Stockholm, and Milan have demonstrated the power of road pricing to reduce driving and cut travel times, pollution damages, crash costs, and the like. But even those gains pale beside the profusion of benefits for New York City promised by a new plan I've developed with Ted Kheel."

"The Kheel-Komanoff Plan (so named to distinguish it from the "pure" Kheel Plan approach, with 100 percent-free transit) delivers all this with just four measures:"

1. A new toll on car and truck trips into Manhattan's Central Business District (CBD), ranging from $2 to $10 for cars, depending on time of day and day of week. Trucks -- bigger and more polluting than cars -- will pay double. Revenues, after netting tolling costs: $1,230 million.

2. A surcharge on medallion taxi fares. To ensure that Manhattan residents, who drive across the CBD line relatively little but use taxis regularly, pay their fare share, we hike taxi fares by a third and allocate the proceeds to transit. Revenues: $440 million.

3. Smart transit fares. We eliminate subway fares at night and on weekends, reduce them except during the a.m. and p.m. peaks, and abolish bus fares altogether. Benefits include a 15-20 percent speedup of local bus service from eliminating queuing to pay fares, less rush-hour crowding as some subway trips time-shift out of the peak, and higher overall transit usage. Cost: $1,610 million.

4. A hike in non-Manhattan bridge tolls. While not primarily a traffic-reduction measure, a 20 percent rise in tolls on outlying New York City bridges will raise $170 million and pay for elimination of all fares on intracity express bus and commuter rail service. "

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Published on Wednesday, January 7, 2009 in Grist
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