Skip to comments.NYC Traffic Proposal Is All but Dead
Posted on 07/18/2007 5:16:16 AM PDT by DariusBane
NEW YORK - With his traffic-fee proposal all but dead, Mayor Michael Bloomberg lashed out Tuesday at lawmakers who blocked it, saying they were gutless and had jeopardized a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." ADVERTISEMENT
A day earlier, the city missed a deadline to qualify for hundreds of millions of federal dollars for the so-called congestion-pricing program. Bloomberg blamed the state Legislature for failing to act on the proposal before adjourning.
"New York City is today poorer because of Albany's inaction yesterday, and I think sadly it appears that we jeopardized, at best, and probably lost, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Bloomberg said. "And demonstrated once again that Albany just does not seem to get it."
Bloomberg pushed for the plan as part of a wide-ranging package of environmental proposals that attracted national attention at a time when he is said to be contemplating a presidential bid.
The plan, similar to systems in London and Singapore, called for an $8 toll for cars and a $21 toll for trucks entering Manhattan's most heavily traveled business district during workdays. The money was to go toward transportation improvements.
Bloomberg said congestion pricing would improve air quality by forcing more people onto mass transit, thereby reducing traffic. But it was not popular outside Manhattan.
In Albany, legislative leaders and Gov. Eliot Spitzer held out hope that the plan could be salvaged, but did not explain how.
And Bloomberg _ while clearly disappointed and pessimistic about the plan's fate _ also said that talks were continuing.
"I don't know that it's dead or alive. I don't think you can characterize that," he said at a news conference.
Bloomberg had harsh words on Tuesday for state leaders, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who remained in New York City as the deadline approached, making it essentially impossible to schedule a vote on the plan.
"Some people have guts and lead from the front, and some don't," Bloomberg said.
Lawmakers, in turn, criticized what they saw as Bloomberg's aloof attitude, as well as aggressive lobbying tactics from him and his administration.
Democratic Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, a leading opponent of congestion pricing, said some members felt that Bloomberg had resorted to "threats and bullying" in the final days, while refusing to answer lawmakers' specific questions about the plan.
"He's used to getting his own way," said state Sen. Neil Breslin, an Albany County Democrat who attended a closed-door Senate conference with the mayor on Monday. "But he's dealing with separately elected officials and they won't be treated in a dismissive way."
As of Tuesday, New York City was technically still one of nine cities competing for five slots to share $1.2 billion in federal funding for traffic-reducing pilot projects.
The U.S. Department of Transportation had given the New York Legislature until the end of Monday to approve Bloomberg's plan to be eligible for a $500 million share of that money.
Federal officials plan to announce which cities will receive funding in early August, but Bloomberg said he was not hopeful that New York has much of a shot.
A spokeswoman for the DOT did not return repeated calls for comment.
Funny, I viewed it as a way of using market economics to define our driving habits. The libertarian in me thinks all the roads should be toll roads and we should be paying for every mile we drive, and more so in congested areas. Then let the market decide.
saying they were gutless and had jeopardized a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Give me a break. There is NO SUCH THING as a missed “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” when it comes to politicians getting their hands on our money. They’ll simply come up with another scam..
It had Democrats and Republicans ignoring it.
Only a multibillionaire would find a plan like this reasonable.
Let me correct that, only a totally insane multibillionaire would believe this to have been a good idea.
That’s a good point, but many poor and middle class don’t drive into the city as it is. Only those who could easily afford the fee.
What are better ideas at congestion resolving?
Now, one step further, I owe nothing to anybody who can afford to drive (and park) in Manhattan Island ~ No Way!
Better for the public's money to be sent to me than to them.
so it’s illegals who are causing the NYC congestion? Most of them probably can’t afford a car.
I thought the congestion was due to the expanding population downtown (turning factories into lofts) and more of the population owning cars than before.
Just made a big mess.
Here's another solution to congestion ~ remove ALL the bridges.
It was a mistake to present this as it must be done by a certain date or else, otherwise we lose the federal grant money. Congestion pricing in NYC may or may not be a good idea, but giving ultimatums is not a great way to do business. I think the Mayor and others should continue to present this plan. Eventually, the public may come around, and, if it does, the funds will follow. What ever happended to public meeings, presentations, give and take?
If you do that, where will the B&Ters party? Hoboken?
Oh they can afford cars. They can't afford insurance, licences or driving lessons, but they get by just fine without those.
The 1898 City charter which established the current borders of NYC, with five boroughs, incorporating four counties bordering Manhattan into the NYC, called for perpetual toll free access to NYC for the other boroughs, hence no tolls on the Brooklyn, Williamsburgh and Queensborough (59th St.) Bridges to Long Island and the Broadway (?) and Third Ave. (?) Bridges into the Bronx.
I don’t think incorporation worked well for the surrounding counties, but it’s too late to fix it.
Those who can't afford to wait in traffic, pay high parking fees etc., will seek alternatives like mass transit, car pooling, off peak travel etc.
Much of the traffic in the city is commercial vehicles, the ones that supply all the food, packages, paper products, retail inventory and everything else on the island.
A $21 daily tax on these businesses will pass directly to consumers, even those who don't drive into the city, all so that Michael Moore can get to his condo faster.
It was a terrible idea and I'm glad it is dead.
“What are better ideas at congestion resolving?”
Why does congestion need resolvinig? Don’t the folks that sit in the congestion CHOSE to sit in that congestion and the folks that don’t like it CHOSE other forms of transportation? If someone choses to sit in traffic, how can congestion be considered a problem?
Likw we don't now? Ever take the time to find out how much of the cost of a gallon of gas is tax?
First of all I think New York deserves it, they voted for these idiots.
Second of all, the feds have far overreached in so many areas I don't think it will be possible to fix without another civil war.
That's what I think.
As Yogi would say “nobody ever goes there, it’s too crowded”
You are missing the point. The working/middle classes in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx would be impacted by the exponential increase in car traffic that currently hits Manhattan but that would then terminate in the outer boros to avoid the 'tax'.
The transit system in these boros into Manhattan is already operating beyond capacity. Parking is already impossible.
And, in the case of the Bronx, the childhood asthma rates are already obscenely high; an increase in vehicular traffic would send them higher.
I hope Bloominidiot runs for prez in 08.
Not to mention, The transit system could not handle the increase that would surely come. The idiot mayor refused to address the transportation issues that would have been enormous.
He and his buddies would have been riding around in great traffic while ordinary New Yorkers would have ben screwed waiting in long transit lines. The people of New York would have paid the legislators back big time.
My husband is from New York. His family drove in New York. The idea that most normal people don’t drive in the city is nonsense. If you are in the city-wake up early and see all the people moving their cars in the morning-you have to park on a different side in the AM. Plenty of people own cars.
I would also say we spend enough in taxes and do not need another tax so Bloomberg and his buddies can drive around Manhattan. The government is responsible for roads, congestion etc. It is their job, and they do a pretty lousy job at that. Why should the poor taxpayer have to pay for the government’s neglect of infrastructure?
Now I believe this one pretty well. I can see Bloomberg upping the congestion tax, but not adding more mass trans improvements.
And as someone born on staten island, I know what it’s like to huff it with mass transit.