Student journalists should only take stances which they are qualified to defend—there’s a stance for you.
But now that we’re on the subject of the proposed congestion pricing plan for New York City, here are a few more words from the hip.
Opposing the pricing plan by suggesting that it would create a regressive tax for low-income families that “would still most likely do so by car,” as one Statesman writer wrote, is not an opposition to Bloomberg’s method, it is resistance to his goal. That is, if the plans for the funds specify a large supply of express buses to the outer boroughs (367 new buses, actually), and one’s response is that commuters will either pay the toll or park outside the pricing zones, that response is not that the pricing plan is a worthless venture, but that commuters are either reluctant to change their travel habits or ignorant to mass transit’s benefits.
Commuters unwilling to use public transportation in a city with the third largest population density in the country are not only selfishly dismissing to the societal benefits of increased mass transit, but are seemingly ignorant to the opportunity for a cheaper, faster and more relaxed commute.
The critiques of Bloomberg’s plans are unfounded. Since a similar plan was introduced in London in 2003, emissions of the principle greenhouse gas, carbon-dioxide, decreased an exciting 15% percent. Vehicle speeds in their business district have increased 37%. In talks about the plan, the expense of congestion has been much ignored in regards to the current system; estimates at the cost of shipping delays, service tie-ups, and wasted fuel are as high as $13 billion annually.
But even if all the evidence didn’t point towards a successful launch, and even if all the evidence didn’t suggest the plan would be a fiscal success ($4.5 billion in investible capital over five years), opponents of the pricing plan would be acting, at best, picky, and more likely, shallow and self-absorbed.
Anyone with even a remote historical perspective of the greatest city in the world is well aware of the link between an effective mass transit system and New York’s fiscal and cultural prosperity. The recent defeat of Bloomberg’s plan is just a win for a 66-year-old Assembly Speaker, and a squandered opportunity for a more efficient city, cleaner air and forward thinking.