State Senator Andrew Gounardes introduced a new bill this week that would add a 25 cent tax to every online delivery sale made in New York City.
The funds from the proposed tax would be used to raise revenue to repair the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) and other transportation infrastructure.
Over 2.3 million packages ordered online are delivered to New Yorkers each day, a stark increase from the estimated 1.8 million pre-pandemic. The enormous volume of deliveries is causing an equally significant increase in demand for delivery truck services, which in turn are causing cumulative damage to roads like the BQE.
According to Gounardes, almost 90% of all goods bought, used and sold in NYC are being transported by delivery trucks, with more than 15,000 illegally-overweight trucks using the BQE daily.
By designating the revenue accumulated from his proposed tax bill, this money is guaranteed to be put to use repairing the very infrastructure currently being damaged by delivery vehicles.
The bill also seeks to mitigate the impact to communities that are especially impacted by the high volume of delivery trucks.
Currently, the NYC Department of Transportation’s (DOT) solution to minimize damage to roads like the BQE that are being impacted by excessive package delivery vehicles is to utilize other modes of freight transportation.
However, Gounardes and his administration believe that the sheer volume of delivery packages being transported in and out of the city far exceed the available capacity of city infrastructure like ports, marine terminals, rail lines and more.
“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 Gounardes in a statement March 23. “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.”
Repairing the BQE would cost at least $1.5 billion, according to Gounardes.
The bill makes it clear that the 25 cent surcharge would only apply to online sales made in NYC and would be denoted separately from shipping expenses or other taxes so consumers would know that the surcharge is not from a retailer.
The revenue ultimately collected from this tax would go directly to fund repairs of public infrastructure including marine terminals, ferry docks, piers, freight trains and roadways like the BQE.