San Francisco Considers Traffic Jams For ‘Wealthy’ Drivers Making More Than $46ka A Year

San Francisco considers traffic congestion that only applies to ‘wealthy’ drivers earning more than $46,000 a year

  • San Francisco Considers Congestion Tariff Plan to Ease Traffic
  • The plan would charge a fee for those who enter a certain zone in the center
  • The $6.50 fee would be discounted for those making less than $100,000
  • No fees will be charged to those making less than $46,000, the plan suggests

San Francisco is considering a congestion pricing plan that will charge motorists for entering the busy downtown area, but only if they earn more than $46,000 a year.

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority is leading the city’s investigation into the proposal to charge a fee to all drivers entering the downtown area, details of which were reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.

London has used a similar congestion charge system for almost a decade, but it does not include an income threshold. New York City is currently considering a $14 daily surcharge for motorists entering certain areas of Manhattan.

The San Francisco proposal would charge the full $6.50 fee to any driver earning more than $100,000, with discounts for those making less, and no fee at all for anyone earning less than $46,000.

San Francisco is considering a congestion pricing plan where drivers will charge for entering the busy downtown area, but only if they earn more than $46,000 a year

San Francisco is considering a congestion pricing plan where drivers will charge for entering the busy downtown area, but only if they earn more than $46,000 a year

The proposal considers two zones, a smaller one (dark orange) and a larger one (light orange)

The proposal considers two zones, a smaller one (dark orange) and a larger one (light orange)

The proposal considers two zones, a smaller one (dark orange) and a larger one (light orange)

Drivers would pay the fee to enter the center on weekdays between 6am and 9am and 3:30pm to 6:30pm.

Driving vehicles such as Uber and Lyft would likely be charged per trip for entering the zone, passing the cost on to customers.

The agency is considering two pricing zone options, one encompassing the immediate downtown area and the other expanding to include North Beach, Russian Hill and Fisherman’s Wharf to the north and Mission Bay to the south.

Any congestion pricing plan is still three to five years after its potential implementation, an agency spokesperson told the Chronicle.

San Francisco has been considering congestion charges since 2004, but the discussion became more urgent as the pre-pandemic stalemate spiraled out of control.

Congestion prices are popular in Europe and a number of US cities are following suit

Congestion prices are popular in Europe and a number of US cities are following suit

Congestion prices are popular in Europe and a number of US cities are following suit

Downtown San Francisco is experiencing chronic congestion, city data shows

Downtown San Francisco is experiencing chronic congestion, city data shows

Downtown San Francisco is experiencing chronic congestion, city data shows

The pandemic caused a dramatic drop in traffic across the country, but since restrictions were eased, the stalemate has returned in many cities, including San Francisco.

Meanwhile, in March, the administration of President Joe Biden gave New York City the green light to accelerate an environmental review of a proposed congestion charge that could allow drivers to pay up to $14 to enter Midtown Manhattan early next year.

The Federal Highway Administration said Tuesday that the plan would undergo an accelerated environmental assessment, which generally takes less time than an environmental impact assessment.

New York wants to charge a daily variable toll for vehicles entering or staying in the “Central Business District” — an area stretching from Midtown’s 60th Street to Battery Park — in an effort to direct traffic.

The federal government has approved an accelerated environmental assessment for New York City's congestion tariff plan for Midtown Manhattan (the area is shown on the map)

The federal government has approved an accelerated environmental assessment for New York City's congestion tariff plan for Midtown Manhattan (the area is shown on the map)

The federal government has approved an accelerated environmental assessment for New York City’s congestion tariff plan for Midtown Manhattan (the area is shown on the map)

The plan was first approved by state lawmakers in April 2019, and officials had hoped to begin pricing in January 2021.

Last year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo blamed the Trump administration for blocking the project. Cuomo on Tuesday praised the Biden administration for “promoting this important program.”

Cuomo added that congestion pricing will “reduce traffic congestion, improve public transportation availability and reliability, and improve our air quality.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he recently spoke with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg about the matter.

“He heard me loud and clear. New York City is ready to go,” de Blasio said.

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