2017-08-16 / Editorials

Cars Are Not Going Away

We are sure congestion pricing at points of entry into Manhattan would be a disaster. A large percentage of Queens residents live in transportation deserts, and need to be able to drive into Manhattan for various necessities: work, medical appointments and other important matters. Many of them are seniors, or others who may be disabled. It will be an additional, major burden to working people who commute daily by car into Manhattan, in a sense imprisoning some who are “landlocked.”

Small businesses would also be penalized. Some move goods to and from Manhattan multiple times daily. They would likely pass on the additional expenses to their customers, who are also struggling. Those customers in turn would seek ways to spend less, initiating a vicious circle of diminishing returns. Or, rather than pass on the added costs, many businesses would leave or be discouraged from investing in our area to begin with. People do look at such things when deciding where to move or open a business. This would jeopardize Queens’ positive standing as a destination.

Yes, we want and need the subways fixed, but it is unfair to penalize certain groups to get it done. Imposing tolls from the “outer boroughs” to Manhattan has been described as a regressive tax. New Yorkers, already paying higher gas taxes, are taxed to pieces. For a working class already struggling with a constantly rising cost of living, this will only further strain budgets nearly stretched to the limits.

We believe it is stepping over a line to charge people who are trying to navigate within their own city. It is good to know many elected officials are adamantly opposed to the idea, and it does not seem likely the mayor will move forward with congestion pricing, especially since it seems the concept is not popular in Albany. However the idea stubbornly persists in rearing its head now and again and this concerns us. Driving cars is still a fact of life for the foreseeable future and cannot be wished away.

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