Former New York City traffic commissioner Sam Schwartz is proposing a plan that would toll the East River Bridges of New York, while lowering tolls on other, non-Manhattan bound spans in an effort to both reduce congestion and give the city’s transit system a funding boost.
According to Transport Nation, these tolls and other fees (like ending a parking tax rebate for residents of Manhattan, and adding a taxi surcharge on cab rides south of 86th Street) could raise as much as $1.2 billion annually, Schwartz argues — money that would then be spent on improving transit and roads.
The money raised would then be used to reduce transit fares and to launch new transit lines — particularly bus rapid transit — in the outer boroughs where transit service is poor. He’s also proposed a number of pedestrian and bicycle bridges leading onto the island.
New York’s politicians are not enthusiastic about the plan, however, claiming that they will not have the political support to pass a congestion tax program. But with New York Times’ opinion editorial page getting behind the congestion plan, perhaps this may have a strong influence on public perception of the tax – particularly if the benefit goes to public transport and mass transit.