Congestion pricing plan detoured in New York

| Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A congestion pricing plan for New York City was dealt a severe blow this week when state legislators couldn’t reach agreement on the effort.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was reluctant to concede defeat Tuesday, July 17, on his plan to reduce traffic in Manhattan by charging car and truck drivers extra fees. However, he dubbed the Legislature’s failure to act on the plan during a special session a “terrible setback” for the city.

Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, was more direct in addressing the status of the effort. He declared the proposal dead and blamed the Democrat-controlled Assembly and Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

Bruno was upset the governor failed to bring both sides together to address the initiative before the Monday, July 16, deadline to apply for hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid, The Associated Press reported.

Bloomberg had proposed congestion pricing as part of his environmental initiative intended to help reduce carbon emissions in New York City by 30 percent by 2030.

The pricing plan included charging trucks $21 and cars $8 to enter Manhattan below 86th Street during workdays. The revenue would have been earmarked for transportation work.

Opponents said residents who must commute into Manhattan by vehicle and don’t have mass transit as an option would have been unfairly burdened by the charges. Others said it would have increased transportation costs and hurt the economy.

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