At an event in January, where Gov. Cuomo was discussing his panel’s recommendations for easing traffic in NYC’s Central Business District, the Governor seemed to target Taxis and For-Hire Vehicles (FHVs), and called for lower outer-borough bridge tolls. Absent from the conversation about the panel’s congestion-pricing plan were details about recommendations to charge a toll on all vehicles entering Manhattan below 60th Street.
While Cuomo endorsed the part of the Fix NYC plan that would charge FHVs and Taxis to travel through Manhattan south of 60th Street, he avoided repeated questions by a reporter about the bigger proposal to charge private cars entering the zone.
“My focus is on for-hire vehicles,” said Cuomo, blaming them most for worsening gridlock. “We now have yellow cabs and black cars and green cars and every color in the rainbow. That is one of the first places I would look to reduce congestion and to raise money. If they want to cruise through the central business district to pick up fares, they should have to pay for it, or we should limit the number.”
The second thing, he said, is “lowering the outer-borough tolls, which are crazy high.”
Cuomo spokeswoman Abbey Fashouer confirmed the governor “believes tolls need to be rationalized, and any plan that moves forward must reduce costs on the outer-borough bridges.”
The governor would not directly comment on other potential fallout from the private-car part of the plan, which would be rolled out in 2020 – including how to handle cars owned by residents who live in the toll zone.
Some outer-borough officials already have sounded off about the outsize impact a plan that would charge up to $11.52 would have on residents who already pay up to $17 round-trip for MTA bridges and tunnels.
Meanwhile, the Fix NYC blueprint seeks to make huge cutbacks to the number of parking placards awarded city employees, includes an NYPD crackdown on moving violations, recommends reforms to the Taxi and Limousine Commission, and asks for more city funding for the MTA. The Fix NYC plan specifically calls for more enforcement of moving violations, like “blocking the box,” which would require the city to shift away from an emphasis on parking tickets. The city’s DOT would have to work with the Port Authority to review congestion caused by commuter, tourist and regional buses.
Issues the city would have to address under the Fix NYC plan:
• Pumping more money, along with the MTA and Port Authority, into public transit for the outer boroughs.
• Step up NYPD and camera enforcement of moving violations like “blocking the box” and stopping in bus lanes.
• Overhaul the rules on who gets city parking placards to reduce use (and abuse).
• Address the explosion of tour buses in Midtown, which have increased more than fourfold in the past decade.
• Re-examine incentives that increase the number of black cars and other FHVs flooding streets at rush hour.
Source: New York Post