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Congestion pricing passes City Council

(AP) - Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to charge driversextra tolls in congested parts of Manhattan inched closer toapproval on Monday with authorization by the City Council. The concept, known as congestion

News 12 Staff

Mar 31, 2008, 10:50 PM

Updated 5,951 days ago

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(AP) - Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to charge driversextra tolls in congested parts of Manhattan inched closer toapproval on Monday with authorization by the City Council.
The concept, known as congestion pricing, still faces its mostsubstantial hurdle in Albany, where legislators were focused onfinishing the state budget and were expected to take it up laterthis week.
The Legislature must approve the plan by April 7 or the citystands to lose $354 million in funding promised by the federalgovernment to help kick-start the initiative.
Congestion pricing is intended to cut traffic and pollution byforcing more commuters onto mass transit; the money collectedthrough the tolls would go toward mass-transit improvements. TheBloomberg administration has said it would like to have it up andrunning in a year.
Opponents, including many lawmakers from outside Manhattan, saycommuters who drive in from the outer boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn,the Bronx and Staten Island often have no mass-transit options andhave no choice but to use their cars.
The Bloomberg administration has promised that before itimplements congestion pricing, it will complete several newmass-transit projects, including more bus lines in some of thoseunderserved areas.
Critics also argue that middle-class New Yorkers can't afford topay to drive to work each day and that the $8 daily fee per caramounts to charging people for access to the city.
"What's next, we're going to charge a user fee to come intoCentral Park because it's crowded?" said Councilman Lewis Fidler,who voted against the plan.
The plan squeaked by in the council: A resolution supporting itpassed 30-20.


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