by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
It’s so crowded in Manhattan that taxis average less than 5 miles per hour. You can probably walk faster than that. Since the likelihood of New York City shedding appreciable numbers of residents is slim, here’s what is being proposed, as Governing reports.
One day soon, drivers in New York City may be charged a toll to enter the heart of the city, the part of Manhattan from Wall Street to Central Park. Imposing such a fee would not only aim to cut traffic, it would also raise much-needed revenue to fix the city’s struggling subway system.
If the idea takes hold, it would be the first time a U.S. city imposes tolls to drive on its most congested roads. A handful of large cities in other countries — including London, Singapore, Stockholm and Milan — use similar “cordoned” toll systems.
The story notes that advocates for the poor area already saying it’s unfair. But is that accurate?
According to the Community Service Society of New York, an anti-poverty group, only 4 percent of outer borough residents drive to Manhattan for work, and only 2 percent of the working poor in the outlying areas of the city would have to pay tolls to enter Manhattan for work.
Manhattan and its particular circumstances aside, I’m a proponent of toll roads. Why? If you want to pay the toll, you can. It’s voluntary. And if I choose to pay the toll, that opens up space on the “free” lane. Win/win.