On congestion and MTA funding, choose goals before making policies

Penney Vanderbilt and KC Jones: All About Railroads

City and State ny

Instead of randomly choosing fees on certain vehicles, first decide how much to reduce traffic.

While the state of New York did not pass congestion pricing in the recently adopted budget, Gov. Andrew Cuomo touted the new surcharge on yellow and green taxis ($2.50), for-hire vehicles ($2.75) and pooled-ride services ($0.75) as a step toward improving gridlock in Manhattan and providing funding to improve New York City’s deteriorating mass transit system.

Adding fees to these types of vehicles isn’t inherently bad – especially since so many good transit options abound in the zone below 96th Street – but it’s neither an effective way to reduce congestion nor fund transit. According to Charles Komanoff, the analyst behind the MoveNY congestion pricing and toll reform plan, these new fees will improve travel speeds in the zone by 3 percent. Komanoff is too generous by reporting a percentage. A…

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