New York welcomes Earth Day with $8 tax on cars entering Manhattan

Mon, 2007-04-23 11:42Bill Miller
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New York welcomes Earth Day with $8 tax on cars entering Manhattan

Mayor Bloomberg framed the proposal in a chilling scenario that would see one million new people descend on the city by 2030, bringing more carbon emissions, new housing shortages and creating a gridlocked hellhole that would make today’s traffic jams look like a Sunday afternoon drive in the country.

Bloomberg figures the move to congestion pricing with the $8 levy could generate more than $500 million a year. Similar steps have been taken in Singapore, Stockholm and London.

Not everyone has New York’s advantages – a compact city with an extensive and comprehensive mass-transit system, though it, too, is struggling with relentless growth in a nation where the population doubles every 40 years and is headed for one billion by the end of this century. Many cities – Los Angeles springs to mind – have even dismantled mass transit to encourage car use.

The Times applauded Bloomberg’s proposal, then urged him and other public officials to take care the money goes to improve public transit in the outer boroughs, especially for those who will need better buses or subways when they leave their autos behind.

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Every good magician knows that the key to success is misdirecting the audience. You have to draw everyone’s attention away from your ultimate goal in order to perform the trick. Politics is no different, and one of the greatest misdirections in recent memory has been pulled off by the fossil fuel industry.

While most of the environmental movement was (rightfully) focusing attention on stopping the Keystone XL tar sands export pipeline from crossing over one of the most vital aquifers in the U.S., the dirty energy industry was quietly building a network of...

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