Congestion $ing—Depends on Who You Ask

March 11, 2008 at 8:01 am 2 comments

images3.jpegThe mayor’s congestion pricing plan is floundering, with a majority of City Council members currently against it according to a survey by the NY Times.

Assembly members from Queens, Brooklyn and suburban communities have been the most vocal critics of the plan. Likewise, half of the 30 council members from Queens and Brooklyn said they would vote against the plan as it currently stands, though several said that they could change their minds if their issues are addressed.

As a refresher course, those issues are:

…The councilman was referring to a letter he and 19 other members signed this week, demanding that New Jersey commuters pay a partial fee, or that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey use a portion of tolls collected from Manhattan-bound drivers to pay for New York City mass transit.

Other council members expressed concerns about who would control the estimated $500 million in annual fees generated by congestion pricing; how the city would avoid turning neighborhoods outside the fee zone into parking lots; and whether there will be enough extra buses and trains to give commuters in the outlying parts of the city an alternative to driving.

Now, the Daily News has an article today saying that a majority of people who ride the buses (1,300 riders surveyed on buses, including the Q60, Q31, B44 and B41) support congestion pricing if it means more buses are put into service.

Not surprisingly, a majority of riders said they would support charging drivers $8 to enter parts of Manhattan during busy hours if the money is used for transit improvements.

Almost 75% of Q60 riders surveyed said they would support congestion pricing, as did almost 60% of B41 riders.

The problem is that people keep coming back to “Where’s the money going?”

“A lot of conversation has been that it’s an $8 fee to drive into Manhattan during business hours. The ties to transit improvements don’t always come out in the debate. But there would be a lot of improvements,” [Gene] Russianoff said. [He’s part of the Straphangers Campaign, which helped conduct the citywide survey.]

What, specifically, would these improvements be? Michael Bloomberg and other supporters of congestion pricing are losing the PR battle and need to start hammering hard and home where this money will go. Keep it short and pointed. If this is the stumbling block, knock it down decisively so that council members and any other parties who are being swayed not by bus [and subway] riders but by special interests on four wheels have no choice but to back the bulk of their constituents.


Entry filed under: congestion pricing, Forest Hills, politics, Queens, Rant.

You Always Remember Your First Spitzer Substory

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Cate  |  March 12, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    The Campaign for New York’s future just finished disaggregating the MTA Capital plan. If you go to this page, you can download pdf documents detailing improvements specific to City Council, Assembly and Senate districts. Borough wide sheets should be available soon. I hope this helps riders answer that looming “what am I going to get?” question.

  • 2. karbeth  |  March 12, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Cate: Thanks so much for giving readers this link. Very helpful.


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