Study: Congestion pricing won't disproportionately affect lower-income drivers

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N.J. Burkett has more on the controversial congestion pricing proposal.

Backers of the controversial congestion pricing proposal are getting a boost from a transportation research group, which studied the plan and found that charging drivers who come into the bottom third of Manhattan would not disproportionately affect lower income people and those who live far away from subway and bus stops.

Critics say the congestion-pricing toll would also hurt the middle class, but the study found only a faction of commuters would end up paying. Most people driving downtown, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign found, are from the Upper West Side or the Upper East Side. They generally travel either in their own cars or in taxis, or with a car service. Activists insist they are New Yorkers with considerably higher incomes who can afford it.

According to the study, the overwhelming majority of commuters from the outer boroughs use mass transit, which would benefit from congestion-pricing funds.

Most motorists we spoke with oppose congestion pricing, and researchers admit their study did not include commuters from New Jersey who already pay tolls to cross the Hudson River. The proposed plan by Gov. Andrew Cuomo would make allowances for Jersey drivers, but still, many motorists have their doubts.

Congestion-pricing was proposed and withdrawn 10 years ago, but traffic in Manhattan has steadily gotten worse since then. A final decision will be up to state lawmakers, who would have to approve the plan.

You can download the full Fix NYC proposal by clicking here.

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