Five cities on the road to congestion pricing

| Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Congestion pricing could soon be coming to a city near you, thanks to the U.S. DOT’s offer of $848 million in aid to make it happen.

New York is one of five cities set to receive federal money if they go ahead and implement congestion pricing – tolls to enter a specific area that fluctuate based on the time of day and the amount of traffic. The more traffic there is, the more someone pays to access the city, or the more someone pays to access faster lanes to get out of the congestion.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters announced Tuesday, Aug. 14, that five cities would receive millions of dollars as part of a Bush Administration initiative to reduce congestion.

The cities and the amount awarded are: New York, $354.5 million; San Francisco, $158.7 million; Seattle, $138.7 million; Minneapolis, $133.3 million; and Miami, $62.9 million.

Twenty-six cities applied as part of DOT’s Urban Partnership program, launched by President Bush in May 2006 to confront and address congestion, Department of Transportation officials stated in a press release.

In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has called for trucks to be charged $21 and cars to be charged $8 to enter Manhattan below 86th Street between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Trucks already operating within the zone will be charged $5.50 to operate each day while cars will be charged $4 per day to stay in the zone.

Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan didn’t even make it to a vote in the New York State Legislature, but the lawmakers did approve a study to gather more information on the concept.

– By David Tanner, staff writer