Sunday, March 23, 2008

Tell Governor Patterson that this is the wrong plan!

Congestion pricing: it's the right solution, but this wrong model has big problems.

This is exceedingly difficult to write, as I fully support congestion pricing in theory, but the current plan is wrong for New York City, and wrong for New York State. Here, briefly, are some of the biggest problems:

• There is no "lockbox"; the MTA plans to dedicate only 15% of revenues to capital improvements

• The current plan penalizes outer-borough residents while PA, NJ commuters and
Manhattanites living within the congestion zone get a free pass

• Improvements to mass transit are not in place, and the planned improvements are inadequate

• The current plan doesn't address the lack of traffic enforcement, one of the leading causes of traffic congestion

• The current plan doesn't address New York City Transit's woefully well-documented and historic inefficiencies

• Manhattan isn't the only place in NYC with horrendous congestion; Bloomberg's plan will increase congestion in poor neighborhoods with high asthma rates

• The current plan doesn't offer incentives for hybrid vehicles

• Even the mayor admits that traffic will probably NOT be reduced by 6% with the current plan, yet a 6% reduction is required to obtain the Federal DOT grant of $354 million

We need vastly improved mass transit to make congestion pricing effective; Theodore Kheel's plan, while still not perfect, is a much better plan than Mike Bloomberg's, and it makes mass transit free. Please read some of my earlier posts; then, email your city council member, your state senator, Sheldon Silver ( and Governor David Patterson, and insist that they provide a better congestion plan that addresses all of these issues.