After seeing success in the city of Stockholm where they saw a 22 percent reduction in traffic, New York could become the first city in the United States to implement congestion pricing.
If it goes through, motorists driving in and out of the main commercial districts of Manhattan would be charged a fee to do so. The main reason to start a program like this is to ease traffic in the city’s most congested areas by forcing people who want to access those areas to make a decision—pay to drive through those areas or save money by walking, cycling, or taking public transport. The proposal has the backing of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a number of business groups as well as ride-hailing apps such Uber. If New York approves this plan, will Boston follow suit?
Perhaps the strongest argument in support of this plan making its way to Boston is that the revenue from congestion pricing in New York would be allocated for repairs to the region’s public transit system.
Besides having some of the world’s worst traffic (Boston ranks 14th among the world’s most congest cities), the T and commuter rail are constantly in need of monetary help to improve infrastructure and service.
However, opponents against the plan are worried that congestion pricing would send property values and prices even higher than they already are and make it harder for people to be able to afford to live within the congestion pricing zone.