CONGESTION PRICING

October 19, 2018 at 4:30 am

Officials are exploring possible solutions to end gridlock and overcrowding on city streets. One idea being given serious consideration is congestion pricing, a plan that would require you to pay to enter midtown. We have the details on the plan and the politics behind it.

Aired on October 19, 2018.

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>>> WHAT IS THE OBSTACLE TO
REBUILDING THE SUBWAY SYSTEM?
IT IS THE MONEY, HONEY, THAT'S
WHAT IT IS ABOUT.
THE ONLY REALISTIC OPTION IS
CONGESTION PRICING.
WE HAVE TO GET IT DONE, WE HAVE
TO GET IT DONE NEXT YEAR.
I NEED YOUR HELP.
>> HELLO AND WELCOME TO METRO
FOCUS.
THAT WAS GOVERNOR CUOMO SPEAKING
EARLIER THIS MONTH, MAKING THE
ARGUMENT THAT CONGESTION PRICING
IS THE ONLY WAY TO PAY FOR THE
HIGH COST TO FIX THE SUBWAY
SYSTEM.
THE MTA SAYS THAT IDEA IS
UNREALISTIC AND HAS CHOSEN TO
MAKE CONGESTION PRICING ONE OF
HIS TOP PRIORITIES.
DOES THAT MEAN THAT CONGESTION
PRICING IS FINALLY COMING TO NEW
YORK CITY.
AND THAT OUR FRUSTRATION FILLED
WITH THE COLLAPSING SUBWAY
SYSTEM MAY SOON BE OVER?
JOINING US NOW WITH ANSWERS IS
TIMMY, WHO COVERS POLITICS FOR
THE WALL STREET AND HAS BEEN
REPORTING ON THIS STORY.
WELCOME BACK TO THE PROGRAM.
>> FOR THOSE OF OUR VIEWERS WHO
MAY NOT BE FAMILIAR WITH
CONGESTION PRICING, I WONDER IF
YOU COULD START GIVING US A
BRIEF EXPLANATION OF WHAT IT
ENTAILS.
>> IT'S AN IDEA OF WHAT IS NOT
NECESSARILY NEW, AND IT'S
IMPLEMENTED IN OTHER CITIES
AROUND THE WORLD, INCLUDING
LONDON.
DRIVERS WHO ENTER THE MOST
CONGESTED PART OF THE CITY WILL
HAVE TO PAY A FEE FOR THAT
PRIVILEGE.
ON ONE HAND YOU RAISE MONEY TO
INVEST IN MASS TRANSIT
IMPROVEMENTS, TO MAKE IT EASIER
TO GO AROUND.
AND TWO, YOU DETER SOME PEOPLE
FROM DRIVING IN.
ESPECIALLY AT PEAK HOURS WHEN
THE CITY STREETS ARE THE MOST
CLOGGED.
>> YOU SAY THIS HAS BEEN AROUND
FOR A LONG TIME, IT'S BEEN
AROUND FOR A LONG TIME IN NEW
YORK.
IT'S BEEN ON SOMEONE'S AGENDA
FOR AT L YEARS.
NOW IT'S ON THE GOVERNOR'S
AGENDA.
AND IT'S SERIOUS.
>> THE GOVERNOR SAID THE TIME
HAS COME FOR CONGESTION PRICING
IN 2015.
AFTER THE SUMMER OF HELL WHEN
THE CITY BEGAN TO FALTER.
HE CONVENED A PANEL, IT ISSUED A
REPORT EARLY IN 2018
RECOMMENDING CONGESTION FEE ON
DRIVERS ENTERING MANHATTAN,
RECOMMENDED A SURCHARGE ON FOUR
HIGHER VEHICLES LIKE UBER AND
TAXICABS ON TRIPS THAT START AND
END IN THAT PART OF MANHATTAN.
TO DO THINGS THAT WOULD HELP
EASE THE FLOW OF TRAFFIC
THROUGHOUT THE CITY.
WHAT DIDN'T HAPPEN LAST YEAR WAS
A CONCERTED LEGISLATIVE PUSH BY
THE GOVERNOR DURING THE
LEGISLATIVE SESSION.
>> SO THE COST AFFECTING THE
SUBWAY HAS BEEN ESTIMATED AT
APPROXIMATELY $40 BILLION OVER
THE NEXT 50 YEARS.
HOW MUCH OF THAT WILL BE COVERED
REALISTICALLY WITH THE REVENUES
FROM CONGESTED PRICING.
>> IT'S ALL GOING TO DEPEND ON
THE EXACT SHAPE OF THE PROPOSAL
AND LEGISLATION.
WHETHER OR NOT A PROPOSAL
INCLUDES MONEY FOR THE CITY TO
MAINTAIN THE EAST RIVER BRIDGES.
WHETHER OR NOT A PROPOSAL
INCLUDES LOWERING TOLLS ON
BRIDGES IN THE OUTER ER BOROUG
WHICH HAS BEEN A POLITICAL
BALANCING ACT FOR SOME TO TRY TO
WIN SUPPORT FOR SOME IN THESE
REGIONS.
THE ESTIMATE IS THAT A BILLION
DOLLARS A YEAR COULD BE
GENERATED NET FOR THE
METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION
AUTHORITY.
IF YOU BOND THAT OUT, YOU COULD
GENERATE A GOOD DEAL OF MONEY,
BUT STILL NOT ALL THE 40 BILLION
YOU WOULD NEED TO FUND THE FAST
FORWARD PLAN, WHICH IS NOW BEING
PUSHED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE
NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT.
>> NEW YORKERS FROM LONG ISLAND,
THE OUTER BOROUGHS OR THE
SUBURBS WHO RELY ON THEIR CARS
TO COMMUTE TO THE CITY.
THEY'VE BEEN TYPICALLY AND
UNDERSTANDABLY THE STRONGEST
FORCE AGAINST CONGESTION
PRICING.
THEY'RE THE REASON WHY IT DIED
10 YEARS AGO, WHEN BLOOMBERG
TRIED TO PASS IT OR TRIED TO
MAKE IT HAPPEN.
IS THE GOVERNOR GOING TO HAVE
BETTER LUCK WITH THE STATE
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE SUBURBS
AND THE OUTER ER BOROUGHS THISE
AROUND?
>> WE'LL SEE, THERE ARE SEVERAL
THINGS THE GOVERNOR CAN DO TO
BUILD SUPPORT IN THE LEGISLATIVE
PROCESS.
HE COULD MAKE A CONGESTION
PRICING PROPOSAL PART OF HIS
BUDGET.
THE STATE DEPARTMENT HAS TO BE
ADOPTED BY APRIL ONE THIS YEAR.
THE GOVERNOR HAS A GREAT DEAL OF
POWER OVER DECIDING WHAT GETS
PUT IN THE SPENDING PLAN, WHAT
DOESN'T GET PUT IN THE SPENDING
PLAN.
THERE HAVE BEEN COURT DECISIONS
THAT HAVE REALLY STRENGTHED HIS
HAND.
IF THE GOVERNOR DECIDES AS HE
DID WITH OTHER POLICY PROPOSALS,
LIKE RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE.
IF A GOVERNOR DECIDES TO PUT A
CONGESTION PRICING PLAN INTO
THAT SPENDING PROPOSAL.
HE COULD FORCE LAWMAKERS TO VOTE
ON IT, ALONG WITH MORE POPULAR
MEASURES LIKE SCHOOL AIDE
INCREASES.
AS I SAID IN THE INTRODUCTION,
THE GOVERNOR HAS BEEN CALLING
FOR EQUAL SHARE OF THE EXPENSES,
HE'S NOW ABANDONED THE IDEA OF
MAKING THE SUBWAY SYSTEM PART OF
THE STATE.
WHY?
>> IT HASN'T GOTTEN MUCH
BACKING.
HE CONTROLS THE MTA AFTER SOME
PREVIOUS ATTEMPTS WHERE HE TRIED
TO SHIFT BLAME AND CLAIM HE
DIDN'T HAVE CONTROL OF THE
AUTHORITY, AND RECOGNIZE THAT HE
NEEDS TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM.
SO ADVOCATES ARE CERTAINLY
SAYING HE NEEDS TO TAKE
OWNERSHIP, AND THEY'VE BEEN
HEARTENED BY HIS LATEST
COMMENTS.
>> WE HAVE ABOUT 15 SECONDS.
IS THIS GOING TO PASS NEXT YEAR?
AND ARE WE GOING TO SEE
CONGESTION PRICING IN NEW YORK
CITY?
>> I THINK THE BIGGEST ONUS IS
ON GOVERNOR CUOMO.
THAT'S WHAT ADVOCATES SAY,
LAWMAKERS SAY.
HE PUTS TOGETHER THE PACKAGE.
HE MAY HAVE IT, IF NOT, IT'S
NOT.
>> WE'LL LEAVE IT AT THAT.
THANKS FOR COMING IN.
ALWAYS A PLEASURE FOR BEING
HERE.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, and Judy and Josh Weston.

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