Boston city councilors debate use of congestion pricing to curb traffic

The notion of charging people to drive in downtown Boston during peak commuting hours is a controversial one for city leaders

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If you've ever commuted through Boston, you know how crowded the bridges, tunnels and streets can get.

The worsening traffic situation spurring action as City Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson, who represents District 7, is proposing a set fee for drivers coming into downtown during peak commuting hours.



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"This is one that's going to take collaborative, regional conversations, further research," she said. "Let's dig into it."

The approach is called "congestion pricing," and has had its share of successes and failures.

London and Milan have implemented similar plans, but New York Gov. Kathy Hochul pulled the plug before tolling could begin in Manhattan.

District 2 Councilor Ed Flynn believes low-wage workers will bear the financial brunt of the policy if it moves forward in Boston.

"To penalize workers with a tax is not fair during these difficult economic times," he said. "Now is not the time to put a tax on workers and the business community."

Even those who see the benefits are calling for a cautious approach.

"It only works with a tax incentive for our drivers. We can't forget about working-class families that drive into the city to work and make a minimum wage," said District 5 City Councilor Enrique Pepen.

"This process will take a long time to successfully bring to fruition," Fernandes Anderson said. "We don't intend to rush this process."

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