NYC to embrace “congestion pricing”?

Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, is seriously exploring the idea of a congestion pricing system for America’s largest city, similar to the downtown toll system currently in place in London. Under consideration is a “proposal to charge motorists for driving into Manhattan below 86th Street on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” according to Associated Press. “Trucks would be charged $21 a day and cars would be charged $8, on top of the city’s already expensive parking.” It’s sure to be controversial, but it’s nice to see Bloomberg taking a tough stand on this issue by highlighting the necessity of sustainable growth in New York City. What will be interesting to see is whether NYC modifies the approach currently in place in London, which is simply a toll to get in and out of the city. One potential is to charge people by the number of kilometres they drive in the downtown core, and to have prices be reduced as the vehicle moves out of the city or into less congested areas. Toronto-based Skymeter Corp. is working on just such a scheme, which instead of high-tech tolls uses satellite tracking. Check out the Grush Hour blog for more information on this.