Monday, February 4, 2008

What's wrong with congestion pricing?

The following paragraphs, in italics, would be a suitable letter to send to Christine Quinn, Speaker of the City Council, John C. Liu, head of the Transportation Committee, James F. Gennaro, head of the Environmental Protection Committee, Peter F. Vallone, Jr., head of the Public Safety Committee, and to your Council representative. Please act today.

While I support congestion pricing, the Manhattan-centric approach endorsed by the Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission will actually harm most New York City residents (the presumed beneficiaries), and will not provide revenues sufficient to support the necessary improvements to mass transit that increased ridership demands.

New York City residents should not have to pay a toll to travel within their own city, they already pay more than their fair share of infrastructure and maintenance costs; the costs of congestion pricing should be borne by those drivers who travel to the city from Long Island, Westchester, Connecticut and New Jersey, who are arguably better off financially than the majority of outer-borough residents, and finally, and perhaps most importantly, congestion relief must apply to all five boroughs—we are one city.

Horrific traffic throughout the city contributes to the particulate pollution that has caused New York City to have the highest rate of asthma in the United States; Hunts Point, in the South Bronx has the highest asthma rate in the world. The current congestion pricing plan will actually increase outer borough traffic, causing greater harm to those already disproportionately affected.

In consideration of these facts, I ask that you review the testimony submitted to the Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission, and devise and submit to the State Assembly a plan that benefits all New York City residents.

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