New York City, NY

Taxing NYC's Busiest Streets: Life in America's Most Expensive City

Genius Turner

Entering Manhattan's busiest streets could come at a price
Manhattan tops the list for having the "worst traffic" in America.Photo by(The author)

New York City — "Hey, you ever seen someone famous on the subway?" my uncle asked me during Thanksgiving. After I reeled off half a dozen notable names, my uncle scratched his head.

"But why would a celebrity use public transportation?"

Good question. Well, the question is "good" if you live in any other major city not named New York. But as explained to my uncle, a lifelong Houstonian, for each square mile in Manhattan, chew on this — a whopping 73,000 people live there. This makes Manhattan the most overcrowded area in America.

To put Manhattan's staggering overpopulation in perspective, chew on this: more people live in 6 square miles of Manhattan than people living in New Orleans.

Let the above statistic sink in for a second...

...It's no wonder NYC was recently ranked the most congested city in America. "Motorists spend 10 full days in rush-hour traffic per year," reads the incredible headline.

In a capitalist society, the only thing better than money is more money. Unsurprisingly MTA officials hope to capitalize on the extremely high demand. After all, Manhattan has the country's most expensive residential property per square foot.

Pay the cost to be the boss'

"The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding." John Updike's famed remark, though funny, also hints at why the cost of living is so darn high in NYC.

First, earlier this year MTA increased the base fare for subway rides. Now, "the Traffic Mobility Review Board (TMRB) is expected to recommend the $15 fee for passenger cars, pickup trucks and SUVs driving south of 60th Street between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. during the workweek," Nolan Hicks writes.

On weekends, officials intend to cut drivers a break. Instead of the 16-hour window, the city will reduce the toll's operation time to 12 hours — from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

In short, because "population" and "popular" come from the same root word, the latest potential expense reminds New Yorkers why — "you've gotta pay the cost to be the boss."

The Takeaway

If transportation officials approve the "congestion pricing plan," it will be the first such program in the United States. New Jersey has filed a lawsuit over the plan. Good luck with that one...

...After all, revenue from the tolls will potentially net the city $1 billion annually. The city hopes to use the latest "implicit tax" to help finance borrowing to upgrade NYC's mass transit systems.

In short, a wise old owl put it best:

The best things in life are free, but sooner or later the government will find a way to tax them.

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My writing is popular in academia (biology, psychology, etc.) and on websites such as Quora (millions of views) and Medium. Also, I'm signed to the same literary agency as Eckhart Tolle. In short, I'm an ordinary guy serving an extraordinary God.

New York City, NY

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