NYC: the congestion-pricing debate continues

Mayor Bloomberg is still pushing hard for congestion-pricing in New York. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the state legislature will approve his plan in time for the city to receive a $500 million federal traffic-reduction grant. From the Associated Press:

The U.S. Department of Transportation plans to choose up to three cities for pilot programs to combat traffic and pollution, providing up to $500 million for each winner to implement the plan… New York state Senate leader Joseph Bruno, a Republican, says Monday is the federal government’s “drop-dead date” for New York to commit itself to Bloomberg’s proposal.

[…]

Supporters of Bloomberg’s plan argue that hard choices are required for New York City’s future. They also cite the immediate benefits: Clearing the air in “hot spots” that threaten children’s health; reducing traffic congestion in a choked Manhattan striving to remain the world’s financial epicenter; and the lure of up to $500 million in federal funds. The Bloomberg administration predicts that street traffic would decrease by 6 percent in lower Manhattan during the three-year pilot project as more people use public transit.

But approval of Bloomberg’s plan in Albany will likely require deft diplomacy, bipartisan cooperation and a thick skin in a Legislature long criticized as slow, dysfunctional and ruled absolutely by each chamber’s majority party: Republicans in the Senate and Democrats in the Assembly.

It would be a shame for the city to lose out on that money, especially since, according to Bloomberg, $300 million of it would be used to fund immediate transit improvements.

New York Legislature: Take it from a resident of a city that’s lost it’s share of federal transportation funds: You want this money.

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