With congestion pricing seemingly in limbo, it’s more important than ever for New Yorkers to unite in support. That means relinquishing various “exemptions fantasies” — the idea that this or that class of drivers should be exempted because of X, Y or Z.
Of all exemption claims, the most risible, for me, are those from my fellow Manhattan residents: “We’re not the ones causing the congestion.” “Our car is just to get us out of town on weekends.” “You’re trapping us in the zone.”
Haha, if you hardly drive or mostly drive off-peak, you’re not going to rack up huge tolls. But rave on, neighbors, while I punch up my BTA Excel model [download here] and calculate just how much everyone else’s tolls will have to be jacked to give you guys a blanket freebie.
The linkage, of course, is in the $1 billion a year “nut” that Gov. Cuomo built into his toll legislation that passed Albany last March. It’s a safe bet that when congestion pricing finally starts up, the toll levels will have been set to deliver just the minimum billion. If so, exempting downtown residents, or firefighters, or Nobel laureates, will force other drivers’ pockets to make up the difference.