Manhattan congestion pricing plan floated again

- A traffic-management idea that seems to come around every few years but then dies off has yet again resurfaced: so-called congestion pricing in Manhattan.

Fox 5 spoke to several drivers during rush hour in Midtown Manhattan on Wednesday. They all said that they oppose the very thought of congestion pricing. But they may have to get used it one day.

The idea is included in New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's new budget proposal. The governor said his plan would not put tolls on the East River bridges. Instead, technology would scan license plates and drivers would be charged a fee while in congested areas during peak times. Cuomo was short on details for his plan. Instead, he promised more information would come later.

But New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio already has some doubts about congestion pricing.

"How do you make sure it's not a regressive tax?" de Blasio said. "Where folks who have lots of resources are all too happy to pay to come into Manhattan and other people who don't have so many resources can't."

Cuomo said he is in favor of congestion pricing because he hopes it would reduce some of the traffic in the city as well as generate money to improve the subway system.

Lucius Riccio was the New York City transportation commissioner under Mayor David Dinkins. He said congestion pricing has been floated and failed before.

"The idea of congestion pricing has been around for decades—most times it involves tolling on the East River bridges," Riccio said. "Although congestion is bad in all the boroughs, many of the people in the outer boroughs believe that the concept of tolling East River bridges is a way of improving things in Manhattan at their expense."

In this election year, as Cuomo gears up for a run at a third term in office, congestion pricing might be a hard sell—even without all the details in yet.

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