Mar 31, 2019

New York becomes first state to introduce congestion pricing

Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The New York State Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday agreed to a $175 billion budget on Sunday, which includes a new congestion pricing policy that would charge a fee to vehicles traveling south of 60th Street, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Revenue from the congestion toll — which is the first such policy in the country — will be used to help renovate the city's crumbling subway system. It's part of a broader push by state officials scrambling to manage the increased financial stress from the city's rapid growth.

The budget, which is the second largest in the country behind California's, also includes:

  • An overhaul of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees the city's subways and buses.
  • A ban on plastic bags.
  • An elimination of cash bail for most misdemeanors and nonviolent crimes.
  • A "mansion tax" that would reach up to 4.15% on the sale of properties worth $25 million or more.

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Pandemic forces startups to shift gears

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Spaces CEO Brad Herman had an early warning about COVID-19 because his startup supplies VR attractions to a number of theme parks in China. Realizing that the business he spent the last few years building was going to evaporate, Herman quickly found a new way to apply his team's know-how: helping companies host Zoom teleconferences in VR.

Why it matters: Many startups are rethinking the viability of their core businesses in the wake of the coronavirus. Spaces' move is one of many such pivots likely to crop up in the coming months.

International coronavirus treatment trial uses AI to speed results

Hydroxychloroquine is one of the drugs that will be included in the trial. Photo: John Philips/Getty Images

The first hospital network in the U.S. has joined an international clinical trial using artificial intelligence to help determine which treatments for patients with the novel coronavirus are most effective on an on-going basis.

Why it matters: In the midst of a pandemic, scientists face dueling needs: to find treatments quickly and to ensure they are safe and effective. By using this new type of adaptive platform, doctors hope to collect clinical data that will help more quickly determine what actually works.

Go deeperArrow23 mins ago - Health

We can't just flip the switch on the coronavirus

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It feels like some big, terrible switch got flipped when the coronavirus upended our lives — so it’s natural to want to simply flip it back. But that is not how the return to normalcy will go.

The big picture: Even as the number of illnesses and deaths in the U.S. start to fall, and we start to think about leaving the house again, the way forward will likely be slow and uneven. This may feel like it all happened suddenly, but it won't end that way.

Go deeperArrow38 mins ago - Health