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MTA "Green Fee" Will Backfire, Some Experts Say

by Jake Neher
A A
Metro Card and Cash
Ged Carroll, flickr.

Officials are considering charging an extra dollar for every new card.

The MTA is considering a plan to charge a one-dollar "green fee" for every new MetroCard printed. Transit officials say they hope that will encourage people to reuse old cards and keep them out of landfills. But many experts say the plan could backfire.

The MTA says the plan would bring them about $20 million a year. That has many questioning whether it's really about the environment at all.

Jacquie Ottman is a "green marketing" consultant based in New York City. She says New Yorkers aren't typically worried about piles of MetroCards littering the streets. They're more worried about the cost of commuting.

"You can't raise $20 million and call it a 'green fee' if it's really not going to be perceived as doing anything really positive for the environment," Ottman says.

Penn State University professor of public relations Lee Ahern says the green movement takes a hit when officials use it simply to raise money.

"By linking the two, I think there's this unintended consequence that, 'hey, if you wanna be green, it's gonna cost ya,'" says Ahern.

Despite mixed response from the public, the Staphangers Campaign is endorsing the plan.

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