Infrastructure

Cross This Bridge For $12,000

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One problem caused by Manhattan’s dense population and tall office buildings is that, as cars move on and off the island, they can cause traffic jams that last for hours. One reason is that the tolls on the bridges and tunnels people use are fairly low. The cost to enter or exit Manhattan was, until recently, $2 or $3 a day. To cut down these traffic jams, tolls will rise to about $12,000 a year for a car that enters and exits Manhattan, assuming its driver travels 250 days.

Depending on which bridge or tunnel a driver uses, new tolls will be as high as $23 each way. Many people cannot afford this, and some who can will simply think it too expensive. This will push travelers to public transportation which is part of the plan. (This is the city with the worst traffic jams in every state.)

Congestion causes at least three problems. The first is that there are too many cars to be accommodated by Manhattan’s free parking. The second is the high traffic on Manhattan’s streets, which makes repairs necessary frequently. The third is a theory. Millions of hours of productivity are lost each year as people sit in cars and not at desks.

Rules to keep city streets clear are not new. Large trucks cannot enter London during the day. They have to make their deliveries at night. Traffic congestion is partially caused by trucks that operate on streets largely built by cars. (These are the worst new cars for the environment.)

Manhattan needs the money, which could reach hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The COVID-19 pandemic offered the chance for people to work from home. Some people have left altogether. Not enough people have left to alleviate traffic jams but enough to undermine the city’s tax base.

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