Congestion Pricing Update
Congestion pricing is back on the legislative agenda, with Gov. Paterson formally supporting the plan and, according to the Times, "rescuing the controversial program from the brink of death by submitting a bill to the State Legislature to establish it." Gov. Paterson said, in a statement, "Congestion pricing addresses two urgent concerns of the residents of New York City and its suburbs: the need to reduce congestion on our streets and roads, and thereby reduce pollution, and the need to raise significant revenue for mass transit improvement."
The city council holds a vote on the issue today, with all-day hearings that started at 10 a.m. and a public hearing at 6 p.m. tonight. According to the Gotham Gazette, a close vote is expected, although Speaker Christine Quinn does support the plan.
The plan would charge drivers with an E-ZPass $8 and drivers without a pass $9 to enter the zone south of 60st Street on weekdays between 6 a.m and 6 p.m. As DMI wrote in a report on congestion pricing, the proposed plan is good for New York's current and aspiring middle class. The report reads,
"Most middle-class New Yorkers don’t drive to work in the congestion pricing zone at all: overall only 5.2% of working New Yorkers do. Of the small percentage of people that do drive, the overwhelming majority choose to do so despite having mass transit options. 80% currently have a transit option available that would add less than 15 minutes to their one-way commute. Just 17% of those who drive into Manhattan say they do so because transit is not accessible. Congestion pricing revenues will be used to fund transit improvements in areas which currently have the fewest options, predominantly neighborhoods of the city’s current and aspiring middle class. Improved bus service would launch in many areas before the congestion charge begins. The small number of drivers imposes a disproportionate cost on the rest of the city, especially New York’s current and aspiring middle class, who currently pay the price for congestion with poor health, environmental damage, lower quality of life, and less economic growth."
Read DMI's report on congestion pricing here.