When Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s task force, Fix NYC, released its congestion pricing plan last week, critics were quick to say the fees would most burden commuters who live outside the city and drive into Manhattan for work. However, a new report from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign found that less than 4 percent of residents in most districts commute by car into proposed congestion zones. In their report, the transportation research group analyzed the community patterns by looking at state Senate and Assembly districts; they found that a majority of commuters rely on mass transit, rather than cars, to commute.
Critics of Cuomo’s plan have also called it unfair for low- and middle-income commuters who choose to live outside of Manhattan for a cheaper cost of living. After Cuomo first backed congestion pricing to fund mass transit repairs, Mayor Bill de Blasio called it a “regressive tax” on middle-class New Yorkers. He told reporters: “Rich people will pay it without even knowing and poor people and working-class people will really take a hit.”
The report claims the opposite. According to the study, New Yorkers who live in the city and drive earn more than public transit riders. In the suburbs, commuters who ride the train into the city actually earn more than the same area’s drivers.
Fix NYC’s proposal includes creating a congestion zone, one that stretches from 60th Street down to Battery, to charge drivers who enter those areas during peak commuting hours. Driving south of 60th Street could cost $11.52 for one way, under the plan. Trucks would pay $25.34 and taxis could see a $2 to $5 surcharge for every ride.
Read the full report from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign here.