Apr
20

MTA, congestion tax encourages public transportation use during Earth Day weekend

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These hybrid-electric buses are designed to help the environment, two blocks at a time. (Photo Courtesy of NYSERDA.)

So it’s Earth Day weekend. After a year of increased awareness about the environmental changes confronting our globe, this weekend marks a time of year where the MTA highlights its latest and greatest efforts at cutting gas consumption and pollutant emissions.

Once upon time, Earth Day Weekend would be the only time of year when the MTA focused on its cutting-edge environmentally-friendly technology. But now, with Al Gore’s film and weird weather patterns all around us, more people are paying more attention to eco-friendly public transportation technology. Still, the MTA plans to pull out some stops this weekend during the EarthFair Outside festival.

According to the press release, MTA CEO Elliot “Lee” Sander will be on hand at Grand Central Terminal this afternoon at 12 noon to distribute free MetroCards and discuss the new buses — the hybrid-electric vehicle that roam the streets of New York.

Meanwhile, the MTA is hard at work (rightfully) promoting themselves as an environmentally friendly transportation alternative. They toss out some interesting numbers: Every full subway car keeps 75 to 125 cars off the road; full buses keep about 40 cars off the road. Public transportation cuts fuel consumption by a whopping 1.33 billion gallons yearly.

And here’s a kicker: Without the MTA’s services, 1.5 million more cars would enter Manhattan each day during rush hour, contributing to a whopping increase in pollution well above federal standards. Can you imagine that many more cars into the already crowded streets of the city? It would be a disaster of epic proportions.

Which brings me to today’s other news: According to reports, Mayor Bloomberg’s much heralded PLANYC2030, a plan to build a sustainable New York City within the next 23 years, will include a call for congestion pricing for cars south of 86th Street in Manhattan.

I love the idea of Congestion Taxes. The liberal environmentalist and pedestrian in me wants to see no cars other than essential vehicles in Manhattan. But I would settle for a tax where the money would go into providing better and more frequent subway service in a modernized system.

SUBWAYBlogger does an excellent job dissecting the pros and cons of Congestion Pricing as it would affect us straphangers. And Streetsblog, the home of pro-pedestrian, anti-car sentiment on the Internet, tackles the fight that will erupt over this plan and notes how groups are already resorting to falsehoods about Congestion Taxes to battle the Mayor’s soon-to-be-announced plan.



Categories : Buses, MTA Technology

7 Responses to “MTA, congestion tax encourages public transportation use during Earth Day weekend”

  1. peter says:

    Here’s my compromise solution for how to reduce auto traffic and improve the environment in at least part of NYC.
    Since any mention of imposing tolls on East River crossings causes the AAA to send a battalion of lawyers into court, the city should try congestion pricing in the form of a single EZPass lane on E. River bridges. Tollgates would be at the Manhattan end, to counter complaints of residents who say tolls will back up traffic into their neighborhood. Bridge crossings would stay free, except for optional EZPass lanes, which would remain unused – unless traffic backed up, in which case maybe a modest toll starts to look better than sitting in traffic for 30 minutes.
    You pays yer money and you takes yer choice.
    Perhaps the price could vary according to the time of day or level of congestion….

  2. Louis says:

    To counteract the argument about backing up at bridges…

    There will be an element letting-up of crowding at bridges for two reasons:

    1) People who were avoiding Triboro Bridge and Brooklyn Battery Tunnel Tolls by taking other East River bridges will now return to their natural Triboro/BBT route.

    2) There will be far less people using the bridge if it is tolled.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] an advocate of mass transit, I am, as I noted on Friday, fully in support of this plan. Fewer cars in Manhattan, fewer cars on the roads around New York, […]

  2. […] But now, with Al Gore s film and weird weather patterns all around us, more people are paying more attention to eco-friendly public transportation technology. Still, the MTA plans to pull out some stops this weekend during the EarthFair … …more […]

  3. […] But now, with Al Gore s film and weird weather patterns all around us, more people are paying more attention to eco-friendly public transportation technology. Still, the MTA plans to pull out some stops this weekend during the EarthFair … …more […]

  4. […] Fee When Mayor Bloomberg first announced his congestion pricing plan on Earth Day, I came out in favor of it. I knew at the time that many New York politicians, beholden to auto and oil companies and […]

  5. […] But now, with Al Gore s film and weird weather patterns all around us, more people are paying more attention to eco-friendly public transportation technology. Still, the MTA plans to pull out some stops this weekend during the EarthFair … …more […]

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