Congestion plan could lead to NYC surcharges
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to implement a congestion pricing scheme for much of Manhattan will have a bigger impact on the trucking industry than other motorists, and could result in “arbitraries and add-ons,” or special surcharges for deliveries into the center city, predicted William Joyce, president of the New York State Motor Truck Association.
In a speech on Sunday, Bloomberg proposed charging motorists a fee if they drive in Manhattan below 86th Street between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Cars would pay an $8 daily fee, trucks $21.
Joyce noted that taxis, limousines, cars for the handicapped and emergency vehicles will all be exempted from the fee.
Truckers “are paying the bill and less able to modify their behavior to achieve environmental goals,” he said. “If I am a trucking company I don’t have a mass transit option.”
Such fees will be “much too high to simply absorb,” Joyce said.
While some businesses might be able to receive cargo at off hours, he said many won’t.
“I don’t think a mom-and-pop bodega is going to open at 3 a.m. for a delivery,” he said.
For drivers coming from New Jersey, the impact of the fees may be diminished, since the proposal calls for tolls from Port Authority of New York and New Jersey bridges and tunnels being deducted from the congestion charge.
Joyce noted that truckers operating in Manhattan already face an extremely difficult and sometimes hostile environment since, for example, there are few places to park legally when making deliveries.
And he pointed to Resolution 170 that was introduced into the city council last year that calls on the New York State Legislature to amend the vehicle and traffic law to allow for forfeiture of a truck if a driver has been convicted of three truck route violations within 18 months.
Joyce recalled a recent conversation with a driver who had been stuck in an intersection while trying to make a turn. He moved up one block and made a turn to rejoin the truck route, only to be ticketed by an unsympathetic police officer.
“I guess he should have just stayed where he was and blocked traffic,” Joyce said.