info 06.18.07

Congestion Pricing

When we first wrote about congestion pricing in January, 2004, we concluded the article this way:"Though neither simple nor inexpensive to implement, MUG thinks congestion pricing is well worth serious additional study and public discussion. The issue of fairness to less affluent drivers is, to our mind, one that should be moved to the top of the list of considerations. Having said that, we'd like to see the mayor turn his attention from nanny laws to something that could well be a significant quality-of-life improvement."

Did we think the Mayor would actually turn his attention to the subject? To be honest, not in a million years. But funny how time flies.

Congestion pricing makes sense for New York, as it has for Stockholm and London, which have plans that were initially met with skepticism, and are now successes. We think the benefits of such a plan for the city far outweigh any drawbacks. And based on the studies and evidence since our first article, we are persuaded that the plan will not be, in effect, a tax on the working class. Transportation Alternatives gives an excellent overview of the details here, with key benefits of congestion pricing being:

— Public Transportation Improvements in All Five Boroughs

— Reduced Traffic and Congestion

— Faster Bus Service

— Less Thru-Traffic on Neighborhood Streets

— Improved Air Quality and Reduced CO2 Emissions

— Faster Commutes for Those Who Must Drive

The major stumbling block to congestion pricing is Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and his steering committee. We hope New Yorkers won't let knee-jerk, shortsighted politicos thwart the Mayor's leadership on this issue. Contact Silver here.

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