Brooklyn Boro

This bill would tax online delivery sales to raise money to repair BQE

More than 15K illegally overweight trucks use BQE everyday

March 27, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Last week, State Sen. Andrew Gounardes introduced a bill that would add a 25-cent tax to each online delivery sale made within New York City, creating revenue for the repair of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and other key transportation infrastructure.

Over 2.3 million packages from online sales are currently delivered to New Yorkers every day — up from an average of 1.8 million pre-pandemic — and the high volume of this truck delivery system is causing great wear on roads like the BQE, as well as causing significant traffic and environmental pollution to the communities who live along e-commerce corridors. By earmarking the revenue from this tax to the repair of transportation infrastructure, this bill seeks to help mitigate the impact of these e-commerce deliveries on the roads and expressways they help destroy.

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes. Photo: Steve Solomonson/Brooklyn Eagle

The Department of Transportation’s solution to the high volume of packages being delivered on our City’s roads — and the level of damage these often-overweight trucks create — is to shift freight from roadways to other modes of transportation, such as water or rail freight. However, a current major limiting factor of any potential transition to water or rail transportation is that the physical infrastructure needed — our City’s ports, piers, marine terminals, rail lines, etc. — are not fit for use at that volume at this time. The City, State, and Port Authority would need an infusion of billions of dollars to get the necessary infrastructure up to speed to meaningfully handle the traffic – and this surcharge bill would create that funding.

The 25c surcharge created by this bill would be only on online delivery sales made within the City of New York, and would appear as a separate line item from shipping, tax, etc on the customer’s receipt: making clear to consumers that this is not a charge levied by a retailer. The revenue then earmarked for the special capital infrastructure fund would be used to fund the repair of public infrastructure like ferry docks, marine terminals, piers, freight rails and facilities, urban consolidation centers, and the BQE — the repair of which alone would cost at least $1.5b.

“Our streets are clogged, our highways are weakened, and our neighborhoods are polluted because of the volume of online deliveries made each day in New York City,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “This bill is a common-sense solution to our city’s infrastructure problem as e-commerce retailers struggle to keep pace with our demand for overnight deliveries.”

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