At a time when public money enriches war profiteers and illegal immigrants, ordinary Americans — already struggling under President Joe Biden’s America last policies — continue to suffer.
According to The Associated Press, a proposal released Thursday by a New York state advisory board would impose a charge of $15 on passenger car drivers who enter Manhattan’s central business district during peak hours of traffic congestion.
An anticipated $1 billion in annual revenue would then help the city make improvements to its mass transit system.
More specifically, that revenue would help “finance borrowing,” according to the AP.
Of course it would. After all, 21st-century American governments — state, municipal and otherwise — never pay for anything without multiplying debt.
The proposal defines the central business district as everything south of 60th Street. That encompasses Downtown and Midtown New York, including familiar landmarks such as Times Square and the Empire State Building.
“The nation’s first congestion tolling program will reduce traffic in the nation’s most congested city, while decreasing air pollution and improving the reliability, accessibility and convenience of public transit for millions of people across the region,” the Traffic Mobility Review Board said in its report on “congestion pricing.”
New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority will vote on the proposal following public hearings set to begin in February.
Carl Weisbrod, chairman of the state advisory board, explained that public transit upgrades represent only half the board’s objective.
“Absent this we’re going to [be] choking in our own traffic for a long time to come and the MTA is not going to have the funds necessary to provide quality service,” Weisbrod told MTA officials, according to the AP.
In other words, Manhattan has too many drivers. Keep that in mind.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, WNBC-TV in New York published a helpful summary of the advisory board’s recommendations. While the specifics will appear more relevant to New York drivers than to general readers, the details nonetheless tell an interesting story about how competing interests jockey for favors.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy of neighboring New Jersey, for instance, already has filed a lawsuit against congestion pricing.
“It’s ripping off New Jersey commuters to pay for whatever financial hardships the MTA is facing. We’re considering all of our options, including further legal action,” Murphy said.
Meanwhile, Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella complained about one group of New Yorkers fleecing another.
“The recently-reported $15 toll to enter Manhattan below 60th St is nothing short of complete highway robbery for the people of Staten Island. This could be one of the worst things to ever happen to Staten Island,” Fossella said.
Elsewhere, Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, called the toll plan “a reckless proposal that will devastate an entire workforce.”
Indeed, it seems nearly everyone hopes to escape the toll.
“Public-sector employees (teachers, police, firefighters, transit workers, etc.), those who live in the so-call[ed] CBD, utility companies, those with medical appointments in the area and those who drive electric vehicles had all been hoping to get be granted an exemption,” WNBC reported.
But the advisory board exempted none of them.
So everyone seems pretty happy.
New Yorkers, of course, want my advice about as much as I want theirs. How they handle traffic congestion and public transportation in their city is their business.
As an outsider, therefore, I can offer only a few observations that touch on broader issues.
The first time I drove into Manhattan — now decades ago — I sought advice from a friend who lived there. “Don’t follow the lines on the road,” he told me. “Follow the cars.”
In other words, Manhattan drivers had their own rules for navigating a city not built to accommodate them.
I remembered that advice because it reinforced my conservative-libertarian impression that people tend to figure things out on their own. Thus, we should not expect much from government boards, even those with sense enough not to exempt EV drivers.
Second, the people of New York have seen billions of U.S. dollars wasted in Ukraine and elsewhere. Meanwhile, a surge of illegal immigrants has led to cuts in city services to citizen residents. Thus, New Yorkers cannot help but see a new and expensive toll in this context.
Finally, a $15 toll effectively prices out poorer people. Yes, Manhattan would have fewer drivers, but it would have fewer of a certain kind of driver.
In other words, from a socioeconomic perspective, Manhattan’s central business district would more closely resemble a gated community.
For citizens already suffering from hardships endemic to Biden’s America, that seems an unnecessary insult.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.