NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new way to raise revenue for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that can also help small businesses stay afloat and help the environment is being considered.
As CBS2’s political reporter Marcia Kramer explained Tuesday, this is literally thinking outside the box — a bill to slap a surcharge on every Internet purchase — every box — delivered in New York City to bail out the MTA.
“My bill is a $3 surcharge on all non-essential online deliveries. So that’s anywhere from if you’re buying a book, cosmetics, a TV, a sweater — anything that’s non-essential. Essential items would be medicine, food, diapers,” said Assemblyman Robert Carroll (D-Park Slope).
And since an average of 1.8 million packages are delivered daily to apartments and homes in the city, we’re talking mucho dinero for the deficit-plagued transit agency: Billions of dollars.
“This is going to head off devastating draconian cuts that will have ripple effects throughout our entire economy and will make it so much harder for New York City to recover from COVID-19,” Carroll said.
But that’s not all — the hope is that a surcharge would incentivize some people to patronize neighborhood businesses for at least some purchases, and incentivize both consumers and internet providers to consolidate items in a single package.
Plus, fewer boxes translate into less truck traffic and less carbon dioxide emissions.
A spokesman for the MTA says even with the bill the agency still needs $12 billion in federal aid.
“While the MTA welcomes creative solutions and any new revenue, the proposal is subject to the state legislative process and cannot, itself, solve the problems, which is why we urge continued advocacy in Washington,” said spokesman Tim Minton.
How do New Yorkers feel about paying a surcharge?
“I think it’s a bad idea,” said Flatiron resident Ashley Davis. “I purchase a lot online and it could add up.”
“I think it’s a great idea. The city needs money,” said Park Slope resident Jacob Yacob.
“It’s too much. I would go to $.50,” said Bill Oetiker of Park Slope.
Right now, the bill limits the charge to the five boroughs, but the assemblyman said it would raise even more money if it was extended to the entire MTA region, or even the state.
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