WHAT WENT WRONG
New York City’s population exceeds 8 million, and it is projected togrow by one million by the year 2030.
With more people, come morecars.
Congestion in the Central Business District of Manhattan (“CBD”) isa “major problem,” and population growth will make this problem worse.
The scenario poses more than just a problem of inconvenience—accordingto the New York State Legislature, “traffic congestion in New York City’sbusiness district has a severe adverse impact on public health, theenvironment of New York City and adjoining areas, and overallemployment and job development.”
As the Legislature suggests, there area number of reasons why New York City should take steps to mitigatecongestion within its limits.As a means of alleviating congestion and the associated economic,environmental and public health concerns, the Mayor of New York City,Michael Bloomberg, sought to implement a road-pricing scheme called“congestion pricing.”
The Environmental Protection Agency has definedcongestion pricing as a “fee charged for driving on specific roadwaysduring times of dense traffic.”
Congestion pricing is intended todiscourage the use of automobiles, especially during peak hours, andencourage drivers to consider alternatives to driving.
Economists haveendorsed congestion pricing as the “single most viable approach toreducing traffic congestion,”
and it has proven successful in cities likeLondon and Stockholm, where it has reduced congestion by 15 and 20percent respectively.
New York City’s ability to follow in the footsteps of
Press Release, New York City Department of City Planning, City Planning DemographersPaint Picture of City’s Future Population at 9.1 Million, Detailing How City Will Grow by 2030(Dec. 13, 2006).
(2006), http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/rdr_03.htm (describing the traffic situation in New York City and the public’sattitude toward congestion pricing).
2007 N.Y. State Laws Ch. 384. Bruce Schaller noted how congestion pricing carries thepotential to “reduc[e] congestion; generat[e] revenues to improve roads and public transportation;reduc[e] vehicle emissions and gasoline consumption; and improv[e] the efficiency of the city’seconomy.” Schaller,
New York City, PlaNYC 2030,
www.nyc.gov/2030 (last visited Apr. 27,2008).
U.S. Department of Transportation,
http://www.fightgridlocknow.gov/docs/upafrfinal20061204.htm (last visited Apr. 27, 2008).
U.S. Department of Transportation, New York City Urban Partnership Agreement, (Apr. 8,2008)