Traffic in Chinatown in Manhattan. Congestion pricing improves the quality of life,...

Traffic in Chinatown in Manhattan. Congestion pricing improves the quality of life, a reader writes. Credit: Bloomberg/Michael Nagle

Mixed reviews on congestion pricing

When the congestion pricing plan for New York City passed pre-pandemic and then was put on hold, I wondered how long it would take to get it implemented [“MTA gives green light for congestion pricing,” News, Dec. 7]. The pushback and lawsuits against this idea are unfortunate.

Cities are places where cars are not needed. The location of housing, food markets, retail stores and work places makes it easy to access everything on foot, bike or by public transit. Many cities in Europe have congestion pricing, and it has reduced the number of cars in cities.

Congestion pricing also improves the quality of life. It improves public health by reducing carbon emissions and makes cities more pleasant. It will encourage people to drive less and be more physically active.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority provides great city public transit for those who can’t get around easily. Once congestion pricing starts, New York City will be a U.S. example of the benefits of congestion pricing.

And, hopefully, this example will be replicated in other cities around the country. Also, the increase in active transportation will show other places, like Long Island, that less driving is a great way to improve quality of life.

— Angela King-Horne, Oakdale

The MTA should change its name to Massive Taxation Agency. The plan to tax cars in midtown could create a “dead zone” for at least two years. The concept in London created excessive traffic outside the new taxation zones.

The city will experience traffic jams outside the new excessive tax toll zones. Businesses in the new toll zones will likely suffer losses as drivers and trucks drive around them.

The MTA has $15 as the starting toll and a history of frequently raising tolls and fares. The Queens-Midtown Tunnel is an example of a low fare that was supposed to pay for the tunnel. That toll has been increased many times the original toll. Does anyone believe that the $15 toll will stay at that amount?

The MTA is deep in debt. It already gets government subsidies and does not even collect all fares on railroad trains and subways. Why should the public want to pay, in effect, new MTA taxes? Why wasn’t this new toll idea put up for a vote? Because it would have been rejected?

New York and New Jersey residents should reject this plan as unwanted and unneeded.

— William Pastarnack, Glen Cove

Who does the MTA think is going to pay for this congestion pricing plan? My answer is every person in the metropolitan area. When businesses begin to pay the congestion pricing fee, they will pass this along to their customers. Which, indirectly, is in effect another tax on area residents.

It has been shown time and time again that the MTA cannot manage its own business. Now it wants to pass along its mismanagement issues to New Yorkers trying to make a decent living. I say no to congestion pricing.

— Joe Alagna, Levittown

This one-way socialism idea needs to hit the dumpster — now. Why are drivers always being asked to bail out the MTA? Do train riders pay for drivers’ gas? It’s so much fun to commute with strangers in mass transit.

And the argument that trains lighten road traffic doesn’t wash with me, either. I can counter that idea by saying that drivers are responsible for less crowding and a more comfortable train ride.

— Joseph Cesare, Copiague

A good school lesson: Strength in numbers

As a teacher, I always advise the students to stand up to bullies [“Time to place a menorah in the window,” Opinion, Dec. 6]. The reason: strength in numbers.

In that same vein, I recall watching the movie “Spartacus.” Many may remember the scene in which it was demanded that Spartacus’ identity be revealed. Each of the many dozens of slaves, initially one at a time, stood and said, “I am Spartacus!” As a result, Spartacus was spared crucifixion. Again, one stick, easy to break; a bundle, not so much.

During this time of year, wouldn’t it be great if my neighbors each placed a menorah in their windows. That would be the ultimate “strength in numbers.”

— Nancy Pomeranz Romano, Massapequa

After the testimony before Congress Tuesday by the three wise women from the East, each a president of a major university, here are my thoughts [“Universities house antisemitism again,” Opinion, Dec. 7].

If the president of Harvard, Claudine Gay, said that calling for the genocide of Jews should be protected speech “based on the context,” well, I guess I have to agree with her since she leads perhaps the most esteemed institute of higher education in this great nation.

I guess now I can fulfill my desire to march around the campuses of these august institutions of higher learning and call for dastardly deeds to college administrators as a class, as long as I don’t contextualize it specifically with their names and don’t actually do the deeds. America — what a country! I guess now I can also scream out “Fire!” in a crowded theater as long as it’s crowded with Jews whom I didn’t specify by name.

— Joe Slater, Woodbury

I take issue with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ stance over the conflict in Israel [“Senators’ demands on Israel,” Nation, Dec. 5]. Sanders seems quite concerned about Israel’s strong response to Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7. It seems he wants to make demands on the country that was viciously attacked.

Maybe the senator should consider making demands on Hamas to hand over the hostages, including Americans, who are the people he claims to represent. Perhaps he should be concentrating on getting them home.

It is appalling that there is not more outrage over Hamas’ brutal attack, which included the rapes and murders of women. Exactly what should Israel do, nothing? While abducted Americans are still in captivity?

Sanders should use his position to get Americans home.

— Rhona Silverman, Huntington

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