ATA scoffs at Manhattan congestion pricing

The American Trucking Assns. (ATA) blasted a New York City proposal that would levy a congestion fee of $21 on commercial trucks entering Lower Manhattan during peak hours.

The American Trucking Assns. (ATA) blasted a New York City proposal that would levy a congestion fee of $21 on commercial trucks entering Lower Manhattan during peak hours. A statement released by ATA CEO Gov. Bill Graves yesterday reinforces the trade group’s stance against congestion pricing, saying that it falls short on promises of faster commutes given the amount of taxation it involves.

Under the New York City proposal, automobiles would be charged $8 and commercial trucks charged $21 from 6 am to 6 pm on weekdays. Mayor Bloomberg pointed to London as a model for the congestion pricing initiative, noting congestion and air quality benefits.

In May 2006, former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta released a National Strategy to Reduce Congestion, which said London improved throughput “almost immediately” thanks to congestion pricing.

But ATA criticized the London example.

“News reports show congestion is just 8% [in London] below its pre-program levels and continues to rise,” stated ATA’s Graves. “In New York, motorists would pay $400 million for a mere 6.3% reduction in traffic. The cost is disproportionately high compared with the benefits gained.”

Darrin Roth, ATA director of highway operations told FleetOwner the Manhattan proposal, if implemented, would be the first in the country to toll an existing non-HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lane.

“Previous [congestion pricing] efforts have either converted existing HOV lanes to tolled HOT (high occupancy toll) lanes or added additional tolled capacity , or simply taken an existing toll facility and instituted variable pricing,” Roth said in an email statement.

To comment on this article, write to Terrence Nguyen at tnguyen@fleetowner.com.

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