ALBANY — Uber on Tuesday ripped a modified congestion pricing plan pushed by Assembly Democrats that would treat for-hire car services differently than cabs.
“The Assembly’s proposal unfairly burdens the majority of New Yorkers who live outside of Manhattan and already pay far more in taxes per trip than Manhattan taxi riders,” Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang said.
The plan, unveiled Monday evening as part of the chamber’s $170.2 billion budget proposal, would add a $2.75-per-trip charge onto for-hire vehicles like Uber, Lyft, black cars and limousines for trips starting or ending below 96th St. in Manhattan. There’d be a $1-per-trip surcharge on trips in the other parts of the city.
Yellow and green cabs would see a 50-cent-per-trip surcharge imposed in the central business zone.
Uber joins push for congestion pricing plan to fix subways
The revenue generated would go to the cash-strapped MTA for transit improvements.
Regular motorists would not be impacted by the Assembly plan, which rejects Gov. Cuomo’s Fix NYC panel recommendation to slap a fee of up to $11.52-per-trip on vehicles in a designated Manhattan Central Business district.
“Instead of incentivizing Manhattan riders to take public transit, the Assembly plan allows them to hail a yellow taxi to avoid higher fees,” Anfang said. “The only way to address congestion, fully fund the MTA and improve transportation outside of Manhattan is through a comprehensive congestion pricing plan where everyone pays their fair share.”
Uber has argued that its riders already pay more in taxes than taxi riders and that most of the company’s trips in New York City are outside the congested areas of Manhattan.
The taxi industry, however, counters only a small share of the 8.75% sales tax Uber and Lyft pay goes to the MTA.
The taxi industry has also said it shouldn’t be hit with a new fee because yellow cabs for years have charged 50-cent per trip on every fare that has sent $600 million to the MTA. They say they have also paid millions of dollars to the city for medallions that allow them to operate, something the app-based services like Uber do not.
The Assembly plan also does not seek to add tolls on East River bridges.
The Assembly Dems also rejected Cuomo’s call for a “value capture” provision that would have the MTA grab 75% of the tax revenue generated when the city ups an assessment on properties because of subway service improvements in the area.
Under current law, the city keeps 100% of the tax money generated from assessment increases. Cuomo aides argue the MTA should get the bulk of the money since the assessments went up because of projects the agency funded.
In addition to the new fees on for-hire services, the Assembly plan would impose a real estate transfer tax on residential and commercial properties valued above $5 million and a New York City-only surcharge on properties purchased solely for investment purposes.
All told, the Assembly says its plan would generate $490 million annually in new revenue for MTA improvements. The plan would also reinstate a “lockbox” to limit the diversion by the state of any new MTA revenues for other purposes, and would create a work group to assess the adequacy of public transportation in the city and its funding.
Meanwhile, environmental advocates Monday morning were scheduled to hold a press conference at City Hall calling on the state to pass the Fix NYC plan as part of the new state budget due April 1.
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