Mayor Proposes $21 Fee For Truckers Driving Into Manhattan


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The $8 congestion fee was one of 127 initiatives included in a sweeping plan by the mayor to help the city of currently 8.2 million people cope with an expected surge in population that he said is sure to put a strain on its transportation, housing and energy systems.

“Let’s face up to the fact that our population growth is putting our city on a collision course with the environment, which itself is growing more unstable and uncertain,” the mayor said.

A key objective is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030, by which time the population is projected to grow by at least a million people, he said.

The proposal that is sure to attract the most attention, and possibly objections, is one to impose the $8 fee on car drivers, and $21 for truck operators, to drive in Manhattan south of 86th Street.

The mayor said congestion on the city’s streets is the source of many of the city’s health, environmental and economic problems.

“We can’t talk about reducing air pollution without talking about congestion,” he said.

“As our city continues to grow, the cost of congestion to our health, to our economy and to our environment are only going to get worse,” he said. “The question is not whether we want to pay, but how do we want to pay — with an increased asthma rate, with more greenhouse gases, with more wasted time, lost business and higher prices. Or do we charge a modest fee to encourage more people to take mass transit.”

The fee the mayor is proposing would only be imposed during the week, between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.. And motorists driving the major highways along Manhattan’s east and west sides would not be fined, so it would be possible to go from Brooklyn to Harlem along Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive without entering the zone.

The fee would be deducted from the tolls commuters already pay to come into Manhattan via the bridges or tunnels.

There would be no toll booths, just a network of cameras that would capture license plate numbers and either charge a driver’s existing commuter account or generate a bill to be paid each time.

The mayor said that about half of the fees would be paid by New York City residents — and the other half by commuters from surrounding areas. But he pledged not to begin imposing the fee for at least a year, until city officials can upgrade mass transit service into parts of New York City that are currently not well served by the city’s subway or train system.

Revenue from the fees, he said, would generate about $400 million in its first year, money that would be used to make improvements in the transit system.

The proposed fee, known as congestion pricing, is applauded by environmentalists and alternative transportation groups. But there is little doubt that much of the package of proposals will face stiff opposition from local politicians and trucking companies, as well as from the state legislators who will decide whether to approve many aspects of it.

State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky said he opposed the mayor’s proposal for a congestion fee because it is a regressive tax.

“The middle class and the poor will not be able to pay these fees and the rich will,” said Mr. Brodsky, who is chairman of a committee that oversees the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. “There are a lot of courageous things in the mayor’s package, but this one is not very well thought out.”

Clayton Boyce, a spokesman for the American Trucking Association, a national industry group, told The Associated Press, “It will be a real problem for operations for trucking companies and shippers, including all the retailers in Manhattan, which is substantial.”


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