NY Governor to charge people to come into NYC when most are trying to escape

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Back in 2019, then-Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that would increase what’s known as “congestion pricing” for vehicles entering New York City and traveling into Manhattan’s central business district. The tolls weren’t even specified in the legislation but would be determined based on conditions at the time they were enacted. Commuters immediately revolted, but the plan never wound up going into effect because of the pandemic and political turmoil in the state legislature. When Cuomo stepped down and Kathy Hochul took over at the Governor’s mansion, she was asked about the tolls but said that “now is not the time” to take such an action. Well, time flies, apparently, and August is the time. Depending on traffic volume and the time of day, it will cost anywhere from 9 to 23 dollars to drive into Manhatten when this plan goes into effect. Reporters at a press conference yesterday asked Hochul if there was any chance she might reconsider the unpopular move. She said there was no such chance. And why is New York doing this? Because of climate change, of course. (AM NY)

Governor Kathy Hochul stuck by her congestion pricing plan Monday, saying the long-delayed toll to drive into Manhattan’s central business district was crucial to cutting car traffic and combating climate change.

“No I’m not,” Hochul said when asked by a reporter if she will reconsider the charge, at an unrelated press conference on Long Island Aug. 15.

“We’re the first generation to really see the impacts [of climate change], we’re the last generation that can really do something about it — this is what we’re doing about it” the governor added.

You don’t normally see a politician making a move like this and jacking up prices that will affect most consumers during the run-up to an election. But remember that this is New York we’re talking about. Hochul denied having plans to do this until she was safely past the primary election. Since she confidently (and likely correctly) believes that she can’t be beaten in the general election by Republican Lee Zeldin, she doesn’t need to wait until next year.

So what does this have to do with climate change? In reality, not much. But Hochul claims that these tolls will reduce the number of cars coming into and out of the city, encouraging more people to take mass transit and thereby cutting emissions. In reality, what the plan is intended to do is raise billions of dollars to fund and upgrade the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The plan doesn’t make any mentions of how many fewer cars come into Manhattan or how much emissions have to drop. It simply sets a target of one billion dollars per year in revenue for the MTA.

But the various explanations and excuses offered for introducing these fees make it a socialist Democrat’s dream deal. It claims to be a plan to combat climate change, so they’ll all love it immediately. But it also seeks to modify people’s behavior through economic warfare. You either lose a significant amount of money for your daily commute (as much as $500 per month) when gas prices are already through the roof or you start taking the subway. That would be the same subway where crazy people are shooting and stabbing people on a daily basis when they’re not pushing commuters onto the tracks. You’ll never see Hochul or any of the members of the City Council on the subway unless it’s for a photo op with heavily armed guards. But if it forces you onto the subway, it’s a grand idea.

As with most Democratic punishment plans, this is going to have pretty much no impact on the real Wall Street tycoons they always complain about. They generally don’t drive themselves around and they can afford to live in Manhattan as well as work there, so they don’t need to commute. No, the real losers here will be the working-class people who have to live in New Jersey because it’s cheaper and commute back and forth every day.

People are already fleeing New York City in droves. Even the police are moving out. And now the Governor wants to charge people to get it? The number of brilliant layers to this onion is too great to count.

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David Strom 4:01 PM on October 05, 2022