To the editor:
Why not tackle congestion first by disincentivizing Manhattan car ownership?
Instead of creating another regressive tax targeting only residents of four of the five boroughs, why not start by eliminating tax breaks for Manhattan residents who own and garage cars in their buildings?
Maybe Manhattan residents who rely on alternate side of the street parking on a daily basis should pay a monthly user fee, too. Use those spaces for electric car stations, more car shares (like Zipcars) and Citibike racks.
How about controlling the number of Uber, Lyft and Via ride share cars on the streets, and freezing the number of new garage spaces? Limit the number of construction sites on the same street. Or have traffic-free zones in “center city” like so many other cities do.
Be smart about incentives and disincentives. Prove that $12 is going to stop someone from driving in who’s already paying for Manhattan parking and probably expensing the parking fee. It may not dissuade them, but it might stop someone from the Bronx or Queens from driving their mom to a doctor’s appointment.
You need to look at the entire ecosystem to address this problem, and not just rely on more scanners and regressive taxes.
Full disclosure: I’m actually not in favor taxing any residents of New York City for driving to another part of the city. But at least if you show us how Manhattan and the suburbs are going to do their share, then, fine, tax the rest of us.
But then actually use it to improve public transportation.
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