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.