Major Cities Adding Congestion Fees

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congestion feeAround the world, cities are charging—or proposing—congestion fees to drivers in an attempt to deter traffic in busy downtown zones—a cost that will certainly be added to meeting transportation prices.

Already in place in some cities in Europe and Asia, New York is poised become the first major U.S. city with a congestion fee later this year.

In Paris, the Crit’Air certificate is a compulsory program for all vehicles, from private cars to buses and coaches. There are 6 categories of certificates (stickers that need to be affixed to the vehicle), each with a different color, to encourage the least polluting vehicles. Since January, all Crit’Air 5 vehicles or vehicles without a sticker have been subject to traffic restrictions in Low Emission Zones.

One successful example is London, which instituted an entry tax back in 2003. By some estimates, the program has halved the traffic into the city center almost in half. It has also raised billions for transit and road reconfigurations.

Later this year, New York City drivers could face a traffic congestion charge of up to $23 a day. The city is proposing a daily variable toll for vehicles entering or remaining within the central business district, defined as between 60th Street in midtown Manhattan and Battery Park on Manhattan’s southern tip.

The plan cleared a major hurdle on the national level last month, when the Biden administration approved the release of the final environmental assessment for public comment, an important step before final approval.

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.