I’m glad New York City is about to start charging vehicles for crowding the streets of Manhattan, and I say that as a New Jersey resident — a member of the bridge and tunnel crowd — who will be paying a fat toll whenever I drive into the congestion zone in Manhattan.
I take a bus to work in the city via the Lincoln Tunnel, but I also drive into Manhattan at times, mostly on weekends. So I’m one of the perpetrators of vehicular congestion. I get why it’s a bad thing, and I get why charging for entering the zone will achieve multiple goals.
It will make Manhattan’s streets less jammed, which will make driving in the city less agonizing. Buses will become more popular because they will move faster. Ambulances and fire trucks will get to their destinations sooner. There will be less air pollution.
And the money raised from the congestion charges — estimated at about $1 billion a year — will be enough to cover interest and principal payments on about $15 billion of capital improvements to the city’s subways and buses and regional train lines.
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