Congestion Commission Recommendation: First Look

Streetsblog has gotten hold of the Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission recommendation, which should be voted on this hour. According to the version we have (pdf), the commission's alternative to Mayor Bloomberg's plan is expected to exceed the 6.3% VMT reduction required by the federal government, and raise an estimated $491 million per year for mass transit. Other details include:

  • An $8 fee to drive into Manhattan south of 60th Street on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Trucks pay $21, except for low-emission trucks which pay $7
  • East and west side highways would NOT be free; the cordon would start at bridge exits in Manhattan
  • Increased on-street parking meter rates within the zone
  • "[T]he commission recommends that the city be required to offer communities a residential parking permit program (RPP) prior to the start of congestion pricing and to track park-and-ride activity as part of a comprehensive monitoring program."
  • Elimination of the resident parking tax exemption for off-street parking garages and lots within the zone
  • "All funds from increased on-street parking rates and the elimination of the resident parking tax exemption within the zone should be dedicated by the City of New York to additional transit, pedestrian, bicycle, and parking management improvements, including, but not limited to, expanded ferry service, bus signalization, BRT investments, bicycle facilities, and pedestrian enhancements."  
  • For EZ Pass users, the value of all tolls would be deducted from the fee up to $8
  • A $1 surcharge for motorists who don't use EZ Pass
  • $1 surcharge on taxi and black car trips that start and end within the zone during pricing hours
  • A lockbox, or "dedicated transit account," will be created, aimed mainly at funding the MTA Capital Plan
  • Short-term strategic improvements to subway, bus, and express bus service should be put in place before pricing kicks in
  • Traffic and environmental monitoring program in place before the start of pricing along with a thorough review along the lines of SEQRA

Passages from the recommendation report:  

  • "Compared to the Mayor’s plan, the Commission’s plan has considerably lower operating and capital costs and a simpler fee structure.  By increasing both the cost of taxi trips and parking within the zone, the plan ensures that those who live inside the zone also pay for auto use. The plan will also reduce traffic in neighborhoods adjacent to the zone, decrease vehicle emissions, and benefit the City and regional economy."
  • "In terms of economic equity, the Commission’s plan will negatively impact a small proportion of New Yorkers of limited income: those who drive to work in the CBD and have no feasible transit alternative. This group represents less than one percent of all commuters to the CBD."
  • "[T]he Commission believes that the Commission’s plan is the first step towards a coordinated traffic management strategy for Manhattan and the region."