Advocates: Why New York City needs congestion pricing

As angry as many New Yorkers are at the idea of congestion pricing, others admit that paying to drive into Manhattan may be a necessity to fix crumbling infrastructure.

Although congestion pricing is not a new proposal, it is needed now more than ever, according to urban transportation expert Bruce Schaller, who worked on the idea back during the Bloomberg administration.

Congestion pricing will reduce traffic and will raise money for badly needed MTA improvements, he said.

"That was true 10 years ago—it's true today," Schaller said. The only difference now? Traffic is even worse, he said.

In a crowded city and growing city such as New York, people need to be encouraged to use mass transit, walk, or bike, Schaller said. So you need to fund projects that make those attractive choices.

Schaller isn't alone in supporting congestion pricing. A group called Move New York said congestion pricing is a great idea. The regional grassroots campaign's mission is to bring faster, safer, fairer transportation to all New Yorkers.

"This is a rigorous plan, it's a real congestion plan, it's a serious plan," Move New York campaign director Alex Matthiessen said. "It has the potential to transform the region's transportation system, which has all kinds of myriad benefits for our health, for the economy, job creation and also social equity."

Shaller said if the plan is approved, it could be put into effect in 2019.