Monday, April 7, 2008

King Bloomberg And The Punitive Tax

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg had an idea. He called it "Congestion Pricing" and it was ostensibly designed to ease traffic in Manhattan and cut pollution. Ah, what a lovely sound; cut pollution. Why, we all want to cut pollution, right? Too bad this idea was nothing more than a politician's money-grab, which would have done nothing to cut pollution and would have raped the outer borough people to the tune of at least $160.00 per month. And that's on top of the normal tolls.

The plan would have forced commuters who drive to work to pay an eight dollar "fee" to cross onto the island of Manhattan below 60th Street. Some would say that that's not so bad, but then some probably don't know that the last place to cross from the east is the 59th Street Bridge, unless one drove to the northern tip of Manhattan and crossed there from the George Washington Bridge. That would mean, however, that someone living on or near Queens Boulevard (which is at the 59th Street Bridge) would have to drive up to the Bronx and pay the toll at the Throgs Neck Bridge, drive the length of the unGodly Cross Bronx Expressway, pay another toll to get back into Manhattan from the George Washington Bridge, and sit in traffic all the way back down to say, 61st Street, if that's where they worked.

This may sound ridiculous, but New Yorkers can be pretty hard headed when they want to prove a point. Not everyone would go to such lengths, but there are a lot who would. They are mostly the ones who would absolutely not pay the fee and who also would not switch to mass transit if it meant trading a 20 minute drive in the comfort of one's own vehicle for an inconvenient hour plus trip on a dirty transport where they would have to deal with whoever else was on said transport.

Another point, and one I think would have been a major one, is that vehicles with commercial license plates (you know, the people who deliver all that stuff to Manhattan) would have had to pay twenty one dollars, per day! Imagine...$420 per month for the privilege of driving into an area and having no place to park, all while trying to get necessary goods to the people of New York? I would have been a strong defender of an all-out strike by every delivery driver to simply refuse to bring the goods across the bridges. I wonder how long the kingdom of Bloomy could have withstood such a thing.

Fortunately, the State Assembly pulled the plug on the whole idea. Oh yeah...New York City will now forfeit $354 million in federal aid as a result. Talk about a win-win situation. The taxpayers just saved $354 million and commuters saved a bundle on this Royal Fee.

If you really want to get technical, we can another "win" to the win-win...the people of manhattan won't be forced to walk across the bridges to the outer boroughs to collect the stuff that wasn't delivered. And don't feel bad for the City losing all that revenue. Bloomberg will just raise taxes on cigarettes another buck or two they'll be just fine. Kings can do that, you know.


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