All has not been hard on what the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has wrought upon mankind. New York has been badly hit! This not just by death but also by delayed urban development.
By 2021 New York would have made history as the first city in the United States to bring about congestion pricing in Lower Manhattan. This would have gone a long way in reducing traffic congestion. Alas! The coronavirus pandemic has put all that plan to a sudden pause.
Pat Foye, MTA CEO
told reporters that the project may not kick off as expected by January 2021. It’s kicking off would depend on whether the federal government would grant clear guidance. Well, the Federal Department of Transportation has been very unclear with this guidance.
A review on the environment needs to be conducted. The MTA has to do this. All hopes may have been lost especially now that the federal government is struggling to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic which has claimed the lives of close to 50,000 lives in the US.
The plan was to charge drivers an extra fee when they enter some parts of Lower Manhattan. The money gotten from this would have been plunged into fixing this public transit plan. The New York Subway has already lost more than 90% of its ridership. This amounts to an over 3.7 billion US dollars drop in revenue for the MTA.
It was clear that the MTA was already struggling, in a lot of ways, to maintain it’s steady flow and influx of users. The congestion pricing plan was part of how this lapses would have been filled. Unfortunately, it seems more unlikely to come to fruition especially as almost all hopes have been lost by the agency on getting the necessary money for this project.
One might be led to ask why must we always make things difficult for low-income earners? The extra tax being imposed on some set of road users-that is, some drivers- would it not increase financial a burden on some people? Well the New York Program had a plan to ensure that people who live on 60th Street, the place where this charge would have been imposed and who live on less than $60,000 per annum would receive some kind of benefits to help cushion the adverse effect from this taxation.
Well, all hopes may not have been entirely lost. It is still hoped that the Federal Government would ask the New York authorities to undertake a holistic environmental impact assessment. With this environmental impact assessment in place, it would be easier for formal and official engagements to materialize in bringing the New York City congestion pricing program to pass.