NYC congestion pricing needs to hit the road

POLITICS: NYC congestion pricing needs to hit the road

Opposition to New York’s coming congestion pricing continues to snowball — and rightly so.

The United Federation of Teachers and Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella are suing to stop the scheme to raise MTA revenue by taxing drivers entering Midtown Manhattan south of 60th Street, and a real gorilla just joined in: the Municipal Labor Committee, a coalition of unions repping nearly 400,000 city government workers. 

“The congestion toll is just another crazy thing in the city,” said MLC chief Harry Nespoli. 

Dead right: By most accounts, it won’t even actually reduce congestion.

(Reversing the de Blasio policy of lowering speed limits everywhere, and reprogramming traffic lights to slow everything down, would likely do better at that.)  

Yes, the MTA faces huge fiscal problems. 

But solving them by punishing average New Yorkers simply for driving is insane, especially since the annual toll for a daily commuter could near $3,000. 

Laws and prosecutions to crack down on farebeating would be a better start: Turnstile-jumpers and bus cheats stole almost $700 million from the MTA in 2022, and it’s only grown worse since.

Cameras installed for congestion pricing in Manhattan on First Avenue between 60th and 61st streets. Gregory P. Mango

Gov. Kathy Hochul wants to make congestion-toll dodging a misdemeanor, with felonies facing serial offenders: Farebeaters, who drive all subway crime, should face worse.  

The MTA should also limit its mega-projects: Don’t waste another dime on Penn Station or lunacy like the East Side Access white elephant. 

And the Legislature could send the agency more from general state revenues: City Democrats dominate the majority in both chambers — how about cutting their constituents a break? 

Yes, it takes a lot to put us on the same side as UFT boss Mike Mulgrew — but when he’s right, he’s right. 

And he’s right to have sued, and right to say these tolls will increase “the economic burden on working- and middle-class communities.”

Not that the rich, car-hating progs who helped make the plan a reality care much what happens to the hoi polloi.

Also joining the suit is a bipartisan cadre of 18 lawmakers including state Sen. Jessica Scarcella-Spanton (D-SI), City Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli (R-SI) and US Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY).

Strange bedfellows indeed — but that just proves how widely and deeply these tolls will slam average New Yorkers. 

Punishing drivers to help out the MTA makes no sense either fiscally or politically. 

Time for this bad idea to hit the road. 

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