Controversy in New York for the collection of tolls to access Manhattan

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Controversy in New York for the collection of tolls to access Manhattan Photograph of the Empire State Building in the area of Manhattan, New York, on Friday, June 24, 2016, from the town of Hoboken (USA). EFE / Archive

New York, – The approval of toll collection within New York, the first city in the United States. that it does and that specifically is to access the lower part of the district of Manhattan, including Wall Street, has generated the rejection of some sectors due to the high cost of living in that city.

The initiative, which was approved as part of the new budget and set the rate for entering southern Manhattan, had faced opposition in the state Parliament when it was first proposed by the then mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg. , and died after not being voted in 2008.

The proposal resurfaced under the Administration of the current Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, as an alternative to alleviate traffic congestion in an area always crowded by buses, trucks, taxis, cars of residents or visitors, or construction work, with the objective this time of injecting money to the battered metro of the city.

Cuomo scored a great victory to get support for this controversial proposal, after having been criticized, especially during the last election campaign, by the way he has addressed the problems with the metro in the city, administered by the Metropolitan Authority Transportation (MTA), which he controls.

The measure, which once started in 2021, will inject more than one billion dollars into the public transport system – 80% for the metro – found support among groups such as the Riders Alliance, which defend the interests of users of the metro system. metro, but also the rejection of New Yorkers having to add one more expense to their already limited budget to access from 60th Street down.

A survey by the Research Institute of Sienna University, in New York, last January revealed an increase of 52% support to the proposal in each sector, liberal or moderate, Latino, black or white.

However there are voices such as a civic coalition of the Queens district that argued that middle class communities can not afford this charge, which it claims will have a negative impact on the working class.

It will also affect taxi drivers, as the Association of Rental Car Drivers and Taxi Drivers (FHV) has warned, which it considers will be a significant financial burden for small businesses that depend on free bridges to keep costs down.
There are also those who argue that the delivery of home services will be more expensive.

“This is a tax against people who simply have the nerve to travel through their own city,” Republican Senator Andrew Lanza said during the vote in opposing the measure.
A committee that formed Cuomo last year suggested that the cost be $ 11.52 per car and $ 25.34 for trucks.

However, this New York action will serve as a test for other cities in the US. They are exploring this possibility but they are still a long way from achieving it, the Wall Street Journal pointed out Monday.

“The experience of New York will be an important precedent for the conversations that are taking place in other cities,” Corinne Kishner, executive director of the National Association of Transportation Employees, told the newspaper.

He assured that an opportunity is being created across the country for the price of congestion and stressed that other states and cities, specifically San Francisco and Los Angeles, in California, are evaluating options for a similar system.

For his part, the chairman of the Transportation Committee of the New York City Council, Ydanis Rodríguez, said that “the public will agree when they begin to see that the trains arrive on time and are safer.”

“What we have to do as a city is to monitor to ensure that the money is used for the maintenance and repairs of the MTA, which for decades has been deficient in the service,” said Rodriguez.

Some cities, such as Philadelphia, have tried to deal with congestion with massive parking fines, while states such as Florida, Texas and Virginia have set tolls on highways during peak hours, but no one is as close as New York to putting them in motion. (EFEUSA ).

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