A speed camera mounted on an sport ulility vehicle.

A speed camera mounted on an sport ulility vehicle. Credit: James Carbone

Many drivers hate speed cameras. And few are enthusiastic about the prospect of paying the looming congestion pricing tax.

But that's hardly all that New York state and New York City could do to vacuum money out of the wallets of motorists.

It's all about passive revenue generation, with congestion pricing being the perfect example.

The state is set to reap billions of dollars for doing nothing at all except allowing drivers to cross an arbitrary border. All that needs to be done is install and maintain some cameras and cha-ching! Money comes flooding in.

Congestion pricing is an even bigger money grab than speed cameras because motorists don't even have to break the law in order to generate money for always greedy lawmakers. All they have to do is drive.

And there are lots of other ways that officials can generate passive revenue on the backs of motorists.

Here are a few.

The vehicle miles traveled tax

In the Beatles song "Taxman," George Harrison sings, "If you drive a car, I'll tax the street." That's what the VMT is all about. A device is installed in your car that measures how far you drive and charges you accordingly. After all, you're putting wear and tear on the street. You should pay for it. Your car becomes like a taxi. And the meter's always running. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has already floated this one.

Residential street parking fees

You know what anti-car zealots call street parking? "Car storage." And they want to charge you for it. Under this plan, used in other cities, we'd be charged a fee to park on residential streets. You wouldn't be guaranteed a spot in front of or even near your own home, mind you, but at least you won't be ticketed or towed away.

Recalibrated speed cameras

This is an easy one. Instead of spitting out a ticket if a driver goes 10 mph or more above the speed limit, lower the threshold to 5 or 6 mph above the speed limit. Chicago did it and reaped a windfall.

More speed cameras on highways

Another layup. Who doesn't drive above the speed limit on the highway? There are already cameras in highway work zones.

Even lower speed limits

The city is already looking to chop the default speed limit from 25 mph to 20 mph and Gov. Kathy Hochul is supportive. That would make it so much easier for drivers to break the speed limit and generate even more speed camera revenue.

More congestion pricing zones

I consider this a slam dunk given that every borough has its share of chronically congested areas. You wouldn't mind paying a congestion fee to drive down Hylan Boulevard between Old Town Road and Guyon Avenue, would you? Or on Arthur Kill Road between Richmond Avenue and Armstrong Avenue? The city and state can't effectively manage traffic and they make you pay for it. Perfect.

A higher congestion pricing fee

I consider it such a lock that the congestion fee will eventually be higher than $15 that I wish I could get action on it on FanDuel or DraftKings.

Mandated electric vehicle usage

It's not hard to see calls for this given the insane decrees about electrifying heating systems and appliances in New York buildings. But not many among us can afford to average $50K EV price tag, never mind that the cars have trouble charging in cold temperatures.

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