Connect with us

Politics

Congestion tax on drivers gains steam in big cities after New York approves controversial plan 

Published

on

Congestion tax on drivers gains steam in big cities after New York approves controversial plan 

Several major cities are now considering a so-called “congestion” tax, on the heels of New York approving the controversial first-in-the-nation fee on drivers in a bid to ease gridlock.

New York state lawmakers earlier this month approved a congestion surcharge for drivers at all Manhattan points of entry below 60th Street, the culmination of a decade-long fight that began in 2007 when former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg began pushing the plan. Now supporters in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston, Seattle and Portland are considering following New York’s lead, in an effort to cut down on traffic and pollution and raise money for public transportation.

NEW YORK OFFICIALS FACE BACKLASH OVER ‘CONGESTION’ TAX PUSH

But critics say the charges, in New York and beyond, would only punish commuters who have no choice but to drive into cities, as well as businesses that rely on downtown deliveries.

“Congestion itself is enough of a deterrent for folks driving into the city,” Republican Pennsylvania state Rep. Todd Stephens told Fox News.

Stephens represents suburban Montgomery County outside Philadelphia — which is now looking at a congestion tax for the first time, according to the office of Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney. Spokeswoman Kelly Cofrancisco told The New York Times the city will examine New York’s experience “to see how this can help improve equity, safety, sustainability and mobility.”

Some local lawmakers are welcoming the idea. “I applaud my … colleagues in New York for their work to make the city more navigable and more accessible. As cities take on gridlock and congestion with meaningful policy solutions like congestion pricing, I’m certainly paying attention,” Democratic Councilmember Helen Gym said in a statement to Fox News.

Stephens, whose district includes many Philadelphia commuters, countered that a congestion tax would be “unfair” to workers, adding “some people have to drive.”

Also paying attention are advocates of the tax in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland – all cities that are conducting or planning impact studies on such a proposal.

A report recently issued by the Southern California Association of Governments recommended a $4 fee for entering West Los Angeles and Santa Monica during the weekday rush hour. It concludes that this change would reduce congestion by roughly 20 percent.

“Congestion pricing is a creative solution to gridlock that appropriately prices road use and also generates significant funding for transit while reducing pollution. The alternative is simply doing nothing and allowing congestion to persist unchallenged. I think it is positive that cities around the world, including some in California, are willing to try [innovative] solutions over inaction,” said Democratic California Assemblyman Richard Bloom, who represents parts of Los Angeles.

In Massachusetts, meanwhile, The Boston Herald reports that state lawmakers have introduced a new bill aimed at imposing a congestion tax in East Boston. The push may be difficult as Massachusetts GOP Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed such a bill last year and Boston Democratic Mayor Marty Walsh faced intense backlash from commuters at the time.

The analytics company Inrix, using over 350 million traffic data points, rates Boston as the most congested city in the country, with New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Portland also ranking in the top 10.

Seattle has also been studying the issue since before New York approved its plan. Democratic Mayor Jenny Durkan pitched the idea as part of her budget push last year to make the city compliant with the Paris climate accord after President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the treaty.

Democratic Councilman Mike O’Brien, who spearheaded the push in his city, told Fox News in a statement, “As congestion and pollution increase in our growing city, we need tools such as congestion pricing to ensure our city continues to function well.” O’Brien insists Seattle is assessing the possible impact on low-income households which “should not disproportionately bear the impacts of congestion pricing. This is why Seattle started a study over a year ago to better understand who currently drives downtown, when they drive downtown, and why.”

DEM GOVERNOR’S $25,000-A-PLATE FUNDRAiSER HAS OWN PARTY CALLING HIM OUT

As these cities consider the idea, they’re likely to encounter the same kind of resistance New York experience. Amid that debate, the Independent Drivers Guild (representing over 70,000 app-based drivers) blasted the plan as a “sham” tax that “unjustly singles out low income for-hire drivers and their already highly-taxed riders.” Uber, meanwhile, lobbied for the idea.

AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair told Fox News that “as far as we are concerned it is all about the money, it is terribly unfair.”

Congestion pricing is an idea first popularized overseas. Back in 2003, London imposed a fee of £11.50 ($15) to drive into Central London, and piled on another fee several years ago for older vehicles.

While the price has not been set in stone for New York, a report commissioned by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office recommends cars entering Manhattan during peak hours be charged $11.52, and trucks be charged $25.34 – on top of any bridge tolls.

Politics

Cindy McCain responds to reports that her family will endorse Joe Biden in 2020 race

Published

on

By

Cindy McCain responds to reports that her family will endorse Joe Biden in 2020 race

Cindy McCain, the widow of late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., responded to the reports that her family will endorse former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

McCain tweeted Wednesday: “Joe Biden is a wonderful man and dear friend of the McCain Family. However, I have no intention of getting involved in presidential politics.”

Her daughter, “The View” host Meghan McCain retweeted the remarks.

JOE BIDEN OFFICIALLY LAUNCHES 2020 PRESIDENTIAL BID

Biden officially announced his candidacy for president Thursday in a video message, capping off weeks of reports that he will join the crowded Democratic field. Biden unsuccessfully ran for president in 1988 and 2008.

McCain’s comment comes after a report in the Washington Examiner that said the McCain family would support Biden. The report cited sources close to the family.

“The source said they expected Meghan McCain to speak out in favor of Biden should he get the nomination, but a Cindy McCain endorsement could come sooner,” according to the Washington Examiner.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

During the 2016 presidential election, Sen. John McCain withdrew his support for then-candidate Donald Trump following the “Access Hollywood” tape. Trump recently criticized McCain by saying he was not “a fan” of the late senator. McCain died in August 2018 after a battle with cancer. Trump has made a habit of attacking McCain, even after his death.

Fox News’ Liam Quinn contributed to this report.

Continue Reading

Politics

Ocasio-Cortez-aligned group attacks Biden, says he’s ‘out-of-touch’ with Democratic Party

Published

on

By

Joe Biden announces 2020 presidential bid: 3 things to know about the former vice president

A progressive political group that boosted New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez‘s bid for Congress last year vowed to oppose former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, blasting him as part of the “old guard” and accusing him of standing in opposition to the “center of energy” in the Democratic Party.

JOE BIDEN OFFICIALLY LAUNCHES 2020 PRESIDENTIAL BID

“While we’re going to support the Democratic nominee, we can’t let a so-called ‘centrist’ like Joe Biden divide the Democratic Party and turn it into the party of ‘No, we can’t,’” the group Justice Democrats said Thursday.

Biden announced his candidacy for president Thursday. He enters a crowded field of Democratic contenders aiming to unseat President Trump — nearly 32 years after he announced his first campaign for president. The campaign is Biden’s third bid for the White House, having also unsuccessfully run in 1988 and 2008.

“The old guard of the Democratic Party failed to stop Trump, and they can’t be counted on to lead the fight against his divide-and-conquer politics today,” Justice Democrats said. “The party needs new leadership with a bold vision capable of energizing voters in the Democratic base who stayed home in 2016.”

The group added: “Joe Biden stands in near complete opposition to where the center of energy is in the Democratic Party today.”

BIDEN’S SENATE RECORDS HELD BY HIS ALMA MATER WON’T BE RELEASED UNTIL LATE 2019, POSSIBLY EVEN LATER

“Democrats are increasingly uniting around progressive populist policies like ‘Medicare-for-All,’ a Green New Deal, free college, rejecting corporate money, ending mass incarceration and deportation. We don’t need someone who voted for the Iraq War, for mass incarceration, and for the Bankruptcy Reform Act while voting against gay marriage, reproductive rights, and school desegregation,” Justice Democrats said.

Others, though, took issue with the group’s claim about the energy in the party.

“It’s probably worth noting that while this group, Justice Democrats, calls Biden ‘out-of-touch’ with the ‘center of energy’ in the Democratic Party, only 26 of the 79 candidates it endorsed last year won their primaries, and only 7 of those went on to win the general election,” said Nate Silver, the editor of FiveThirtyEight.

According to its website, Justice Democrats says its mission is “to elect a new type of Democratic majority in Congress, one which will create a thriving economy and democracy that works for the people, not big money interests.”

The attacks could foreshadow the looming clash between the progressive and establishment wings of the party: Biden, along with independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont — who enjoys the support of Democratic Socialists in the party — have consistently topped the polls in the race for the Democratic nomination.

Fox News’ Lillian LeCroy and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Continue Reading

Politics

Cory Booker’s tax returns shows income from lucrative speaking gigs, royalties

Published

on

By

Cory Booker's tax returns shows income from lucrative speaking gigs, royalties

Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker’s tax returns show most of his wealth stems from lucrative speaking engagements and royalties.

Booker, the 2020 candidate who has yet to make a splash in the crowded Democratic field, released 10 years of tax returns on Wednesday after numerous other candidates released their records in recent weeks.

WHO ARE THE WEALTHIEST 2020 DEMS? WITH TAX RETURNS IN, THE ANSWER MAY SURPRISE YOU

The New Jersey senator reported income of $152,715 in 2018 for his salary, $22,781 in taxes which amounts to an effective tax rate of 15 percent, significantly lower than Sen. Kamala Harris’ 37 percent or Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 26 percent.

Most of Booker’s wealth comes public speaking fees and royalties, including $2 million in speaking fees between 2009 and 2014, nearly $1 million in royalties from 2015 to 2017 after the release of his book, “United.”

But the lower effective tax rate may have something to with Booker’s sizeable charitable donations. In 2018, he donated $24,000 to charity. In total over the 10-year period, the senator donated nearly $460,000 to various organizations and causes.

BETO O’ROURKE CONFRONTED AT TOWN HALL ABOUT STINGY CHARITABLE DONATIONS

This appears to be significantly more in proportion than his opponents like Sanders or former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, who faced questions over his household giving to charity just $1,166 in 2017, or about 0.3 percent of their income that year.

At the same time, more than half of those donations made by Booker came in 2013 amid criticism of his role in the founding of a social media company called Waywire, prompting him to give massive amounts of stock to charities in his city.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The New York Times revealed that Booker’s wealth at the time – $5 million – consisted mostly of shares in the company.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Continue Reading

Categories

Recent Posts

Like Us On Facebook

Trending