Congestion pricing study approved for New York City

| Tuesday, August 07, 2007

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer signed a bill into law authorizing a new commission to study how to reduce traffic congestion and pollution in New York City. Charging car and truck drivers extra fees to enter Manhattan is a possibility.

Assembly lawmakers voted 122-16 in favor of the bill after the Senate voted 39-19 to approve it. The votes cleared the way for the bill to move to the governor’s desk, where it was signed into law on July 26.

The effort is a compromise on a proposal by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He wants to charge trucks $21 and cars $8 to enter Manhattan below 86th Street during workdays.

Bloomberg is seeking up to $500 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the plan, The Associated Press reported. To keep open the possibility for federal aid, the governor, legislative leaders and Bloomberg negotiated a proposal that all sides could live with.

As a result, the city remains in the running for $500 million to be used for traffic congestion, mass transit and air quality.

The bill creates a 17-member commission to study and hold public hearings on congestion pricing and other ways to reduce gridlock. They also will issue an implementation plan.

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